National Geographic : 1952 Nov
UOu Pig-faced Spotted Whip Ray, Flapping on Batlike Wings, Appears to Fly Through Water Rays often feed on clams and oysters, cracking shells with crushers in their mouths and expelling the fragments like boys spitting melon seeds. Akin to sharks and sawfish, they have cartilaginous skeletons. Some species carry poisonous barbs on tails, using them with deadly accuracy against enemies. The cabbage "growing" on the oceanarium's floor was planted for certain vegetarians, among them angelfish and triggerfish. MAN has amused and instructed him self by watching fish in aquariums since ancient times. But not until our day has it been possible to stand a few inches from the predatory tiger shark, the vicious barracuda, and the malicious moray eel and watch them together in surroundings like those of their natural habitat. Today at Marineland, between St. Au gustine and Daytona Beach, Florida, 10,000 fish live in a scientifically designed "ocean arium," not separately as in aquariums, but together in two huge tanks connected by a flume. The tanks are carefully planned and maintained to approximate conditions of ma rine life in the open sea. Through 200 port holes along the sides and beneath these giant "fish bowls," the scientists and visitors observe the drama of undersea life. In the clear blue-green water, pumped from the ocean at the rate of five million gallons a day, swim silver tarpon, undulating rays, lumbering turtles, and a myriad of schooling fishes from the coral reefs and spawning grounds of the Gulf Stream. Here too are bottle-nose dolphins, or por poises, as they are commonly called. Known and beloved by mariners, these friendly air breathing, warm-blooded mammals were first introduced into prolonged captivity here at Marine Studios. Photographer Luis Marden and I met them personally as we toured this simulated ocean floor. At fish level, far below the surface, we strolled along the blue-lighted corridors that rim the big tanks. Through specially tem pered glass ports we peered into a kaleido scopic world of sunlight and shadows. Sea fans and shells, graceful waving plumes, and brightly darting tropical fish reflected the filtered rays of a brilliant Florida sun. Cav ernous man-made rock grottoes, a 7-ton arti ficial coral reef, and the barnacle-encrusted remains of a sunken vessel, complete with rusting anchor, made the scene a convincing corner of Davy Jones's locker.