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Our live specimens


The Marine Discovery Centre keeps a large range of live marine animals in three main exhibition types; touch tanks, a viewing pool and various aquaria.  Details about the biology and ecology of the animal we typically hold at the MDC are detailed in the links below. Note that the species listed are not always present at the Centre.


The animals at the MDC are divided into the following phyla:

Phylum Arthropoda (crabs and lobsters)

Arthropods are invertebrate animals having an exoskeleton (external skeleton) made of α-chitin and/or calcium carbonate, a segmented body, and jointed appendages (arthropod means “jointed limb”). Arthropods include the insects, spiders and scor…

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Phylum Chordata, Class Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)

Actinopterygii (pronounced ac-tin-op-ter-idge-ee-eye) are the group of animals most people would call a fish. Specifically these are ray-finned fishes because they possess “fin rays”, their fins being webs of skin supported by bony or horny spine…

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Phylum Chordata, Class Chondrichthyes (sharks, rays and skates, chimaeras)

Chondrichthyes are jawed fish with skeletons made of cartilage rather than bone. The class is divided into two subclasses: Elasmobranchii (sharks, rays and skates) and Holocephali (chimaeras which includes ghost sharks also known as elephant fish)…

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Phylum Cnidaria (anemones and jellyfish)

Cnidarians are a diverse group of aquatic animals of over 9,000 species such as hydras, sea fans, jellyfishes, sea anemones, and corals. Cnidarians all have some type of specialized stinging cell organelle. Widespread in marine habitats and less …

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Phylum Echinodermata (urchins, stars and cucumbers)

Echinodermata contains about 7000 living species, all exclusively marine with no fresh water or land based (terrestrial) species. Adult echinoderms possess pentaradial symmetry (five-sided) a calcite skeleton and a water vascular system consistin…

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Phylum Mollusca (shellfish and octopuses)

The phylum Mollusca includes snails, slugs, clams, mussels, octopuses and squid. Most molluscs have a well-developed, muscular foot. This structure is used in a multitude of ways, for example: locomotion, clinging to surfaces, burrowing, ancho…

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Animal classification


Life on Earth is classified into groups at different levels. The lowest level is the species, for example the “Stridulating hermit crab” is species strigimanus. This species is a member of a larger group of hermit crabs that come under the genus group Strigopagurus, thus its full scientific name is Strigopagurus strigimanus. There are other species in that genus too such as Strigopagurus bilineatus. The genus Strigopagurus is grouped with other genera under the family Diogenidae. This family is grouped with other families under the order Decapoda, and so on up the levels.


For example,






Genus Strigopagurus

Species Strigopagurus strigimanus


Tips for maintaining your own aquarium

You can collect Tasmanian marine species to stock and maintain a home aquarium provided that your fishing complies with any requirement for a licence, size limits, area restrictions, closed seasons, protected species or prohibited gears. The no…

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