VISITORS to the Blue Planet Aquarium in Ellesmere Port will get to learn about the marine world’s version of the vacuum cleaner.
As part of a special “Super Suckers” weekend event, the aquarium’s mighty nurse sharks will be the stars of the show between February 7-8.
Reaching up to three metres in length and weighing more than 100kgs, these massive fish are actually gentle giants who spend most of the day lying motionless on the seabed.
However, these apparently harmless sharks have a secret weapon in the shape of suction.
It has been estimated that in order to get to their favourite prey, which includes shellfish and sea urchins, the sharks exert the sucking power of up to 12 vacuum cleaners.
Blue Planet Aquarium’s Andrea Redfern said: “In some parts of the world nurse sharks are actually known as the ‘sucker shark’ due to the loud noises they make while hunting out their food.
“They literally go along the seabed and in amongst rocks and corals hovering up any unsuspecting prey.
“Suction power actually plays a surprisingly important role in the life of many different marine creatures both for offensive and defensive purposes as well as a means of getting around.”
Among the other “super suckers” visitors can encounter are starfish and sea urchins, which use a form of hydraulic sucking power on the end of their tubed feet to move around and cling-on.
There will also be seahorses, which use a powerful sucking motion to literally liquidise small prey as it passes down their long snouts, and deadly stonefish who have huge gaping jaws that can be extended to suck in passing prey.
As well as coming face to face with the creatures, visitors will also be able to enjoy talks and feeding demonstrations throughout the weekend.