Big Homes For Small Wonders

Published January 16, 2015

Big Homes For Small Wonders

For those who want to witness the wonders of the underwater world in all its glory without having to dive to the depths of the ocean, a world-class aquarium is the perfect destination! There are a number of astoundingly big and well-designed aquariums around the world. The Aquadom in Berlin is a sight to behold. Its cylindrical structure holds a million gallons of water as well as 2,600 species of marine creatures. Located in the atrium of the Radisson Hotel, it offers visitors the unique experience of riding an elevator through the center of the cylinder, surrounded by marine life on all sides. Europe’s largest aquarium, however, is in Spain. Housing 1.85 million gallons of water and 45,000 species, the stunning L’Oceanografic exhibit is a marine enthusiast’s dream. In Dubai, the most impressive aquarium is within one of the largest shopping malls in the world and is aptly names the Dubai Mall Aquarium. Out of its 33,000 specimens nearly 400 are sharks and rays. Africa’s largest aquarium is in Durban, South Africa; the 32 tanks have a grand variety of creatures from seahorses to sharks.

The biggest of these all is the Chimelong Ocean Kingdom in China. Part of the Chimelong Hengquin Bay Hotel in Zhuhai city, this massive marine park houses various themed zones. The vast tanks hold a total water volume of 12.87 million gallons! It holds a number of world records, including those for biggest aquarium tank, aquarium window, underwater viewing dome, and acrylic panel. Before this park opened, the largest marine exhibit in the world was Georgia Aquarium in the US. Its 6.3 million gallon tank houses the famous Ocean Voyager display. The National Aquarium in Baltimore is also very popular, with almost 1.5 million visitors a year. It has around 16,500 species and is distinguished by a rainforest terrarium on the roof. Other world-famous examples include the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California, Turkuazoo in Turkey, and Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium in Japan.

When thinking of marine life, many people usually think of fish, rays, and jellyfish. The often forgotten sea spider is another inhabitant of oceans and aquariums. With their tiny bodies and extremely long legs, sea spiders are also called Pycnogonida or Pantopoda, which means “all legs” in Greek. Most of them have four pairs of walking legs (i.e., a total of eight legs) although the range extends from three to five pairs. A spider’s internal organs are mostly found in the legs – one of the quirks of the natural world. They also have no respiratory system; instead, these spiders exchange gases via direct diffusion. Sea spiders come in different sizes, from specimens with a leg span of merely a few millimeters to arachnid giants with a leg span of 70 centimeters!

The thought of a massive spider is terrifying to most people, but the fact remains that planet earth has a number of huge spider species. The Brazilian wandering spider is not the most massive on the list but it has an intimidating 5.9 inch leg span and deadly venom. While typically found in Brazil, it has been known to sneak into the US occasionally. The Colombian giant black tarantula, with a 9.1 inch leg span and black hairs, looks as scary as it sounds but is harmless to humans. The recently discovered Poecilotheria Rajaei spider in Sri Lanka has a led span of eight inches. The biggest species in the world is the Goliath bird-eating tarantula, which can actually eat birds! With a body length of up to one foot and fangs up to an inch, this spider’s appearance is deadlier than its bite for humans. While not fatal, its venom can lead to severe pain and nausea.

Big Homes For Small Wonders Credit Picture License: one|27 via photopin cc

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