Explore the dramatic connections between water and life in a luminous gallery of jellies, pythons, pipefish, seahorses, lumpsuckers, and other remarkably adapted animals.

Water Planet features an ever-changing cast of fish, reptiles, amphibians, insects, and more—all organized by adaptations to water. Seven clusters of tanks highlight animals that have evolved fascinating methods of feeding, movement, reproduction, defense, sensing their surroundings, surviving in deserts, and living both in and out of water.

 

 

Close-up image of a beautiful cowfish

Getting Around

In the movement cluster, colorful cowfish use their dorsal and tail fins to "hover" in place.

A purple leafy seadragon drifts past the type of marine plants its leafy appendages emulate.

Going to Extremes

Beaded lizards and gila monsters represent the expert water conservation adaptations of desert dwellers, while leafy and weedy seadragons drift gracefully at the opposite end of spectrum, requiring large bodies of water to survive.

Moon jellyfish glow hot pink in Water Planet's central cylinder tank.

Salty Seas

Columns of ethereal jellyfish reveal surprising ideas about how salinity affects movement. 

An American paddlefish hunts for food with his ribbed mouth wide open.

Dining In

In the tank devoted to feeding adaptations, a paddlefish—one of the strangest and oldest species found in this country—startles visitors with an enormous rostrum and a gaping mouth designed for filter feeding. 

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Steinhart Webcams

Steinhart Webcams

Be mesmerized by the brilliant colors of tropical fish, the grace of sharks and rays, and the busy waddling of African penguins. Our webcams stream 24 hours a day.  

Philippine Coral Reef exhibit

Cuttlefish vs. Crab

Cuttlefish vs. Crab

It's feeding time at the Academy—witness the intense changes in coloration that accompany a dwarf cuttlefish's crab-attack.  

Cuttlefish stalking crab