Some animals at the Aquarium may have monstrous names, but they are more engrossing than gross!

Halloween is a time of spooky costumes, but sweet treats. Likewise, the Aquarium has marine animals that are not as scary as they look or how they are named.


Big, But Not Bad

The wolffish is a solitary, bottom-dwelling fish found in the North Atlantic Ocean. It is named for its fang-like teeth that help it crush and eat prey, including green crabs and sea urchins, which can be bad for marine habitats if left unchecked. Although it is ferocious looking, the wolffish is usually not aggressive toward people. It can be found on the third level in the Gulf of Maine exhibit.


Myth Buster

With its sharp teeth and powerful jaws, the piranha has been shown in movies, literature, and the media as one of a group of ferocious predators that eat prey in feeding frenzies. But studies have shown the species is a more timid than belligerent, schooling for social and defensive purposes. Piranha usually eat small worms, insects, fish, and scavenge dead birds and mammals in the Amazon River Basin. At the Aquarium, piranha can be found in the Freshwater Gallery on the third level.

weedy seadragon
Weedy seadragon

No Flame Fame

Despite its fearsome name, a seadragon does not have any teeth. Instead of biting, it sucks its food down its long snout. Also, the seadragon does not spew fire out its mouth like mythical dragons, but protects itself from predators by using its ornate camouflage to hide in seaweed and kelp fields. The Aquarium has two different kinds of seadragons: weedy and leafy seadragons; both can be found on Level 2 in the Temperate Waters Gallery.

devil's sea whip
Devil's sea whip

Devil in the Deep Blue Sea

The devil’s sea whip’s coloration of bright orange to red probably helped it earn its name, but there is nothing devilish about it as it eats plankton found in the water. The whip is made up of a group of tiny polyps that organize and grow in a single direction for 2 to 8 feet. While it can be found in deeper reef environments off the coast of Florida, the Bahamas, and in the Caribbean, here at the Aquarium it is found in the Yawkey Coral Reef Center on Level 4.