The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum’s new Warden Aquarium, slated to open January 5, will showcase a variety of freshwater and marine species that are native to the area. The exhibit, “Rivers to the Sea” will focus on the roles that the region’s rivers as well as the Gulf of California have on the environment. It will feature an 1,100 square foot exhibit showcasing 14 tanks and more than 36 saltwater species (including three species of moray eel, the Mexican lookdown (Selene brevoortii) and threebanded butterflyfish (Chaetodon humeralus) and 13 freshwater species, including the Colorado pikeminnow (Ptychocheilus lucius), razorback sucker (Xyrauchen texanus), and the Sonoyta pupfish (Cyprinodon eremus).
The aquarium will also host a touch tank that will enable visitors to see and touch marine invertebrates such as sea stars and hermit crabs. The touch tank will initially be available to those who schedule behind the scenes tours, and will be open to the general public once the animals are acclimated to their new environment and to being handled, said Stéphane Poulin, operational chief curator for the aquarium. The Rivers to the Sea exhibit is the first major exhibit to open in the aquarium in 10 years. It took one year to build and several years of planning. Funding for the aquarium was provided by the Bert W. Martin Foundation. For more information, visit www.desertmuseum.org/aquarium.