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Begin your journey at Bristol Aquarium by stepping into our Sunken Shipwreck! With its seafaring days long gone, the ship has been taken over by a whole host of different creatures. From catsharks to crustaceans you’ll see lots of different species right here in one place. This hulking remnant of voyages gone by; the shipwreck is now a home to some colourful characters.

What is the Sunken Shipwreck exhibit?

This exhibit is inspired none other than our very own UK coastline, with added bits of wreckage to create an authentic and cosy home for our species. It’s a prime example of our earnest conservation efforts, replicating environments that the fish are used to so that they can enjoy a sustainable and long-term home.

You’ll find a diverse cast of sea creatures here against an eye-catching backdrop, so you can learn more about these fascinating fish, crustaceans and echinoderms.

What’s it like at the exhibit?

Designed to mimic a marine ecosystem, the Sunken Shipwreck exhibit is filled with saltwater to help its species thrive. With that in mind, the water is a cooler temperature of around 14-17.5 degrees, making it the perfect environment for these aquatic animals.

Some species, like the Atlantic wreckfish (Polyprion americanus) gained their name as they are often found hunting or prowling around wrecked ships, so they feel right at home in our Sunken Shipwreck exhibit!

Many of the species you’ll find here can be found along the UK coast, giving you a fascinating insight into our very own native fish. Walk along the exhibit and see our incredible aquatic life swimming past, and see how many species you can spot!

What animals will I find at Sunken Shipwreck?

There are around 15 different species right here in the Sunken Shipwreck, each one having its own characteristics, unique appearance and fascinating behaviours. From starfish to Seabass, there may be some species you’ll recognise and already be familiar with, but we can bet there’s a few surprises in here to teach you a thing or two.

Here are just some of the fish and other creatures you’ll find here.

  • Lesser spotted catshark (Scyliorhinus canicular): This particular creature has had a whole host of different names, including the small-spotted catshark and lesser spotted dogfish. They are one of the more common catsharks found off the coast of the Atlantic and Mediterranean, and can be recognised by their small size and dark spots or blotches. Lesser spotted catsharks tend to live in shallow waters, but are nocturnal and remain motionless for much of the day.
  • Cuckoo wrasse (Labrus mixtus): Here at Bristol Aquarium we have female cuckoo wrasse, characterised by their orange-pink colouring with black and white spots on her back. They are large fish, growing up to 35cm in length, and are common around the UK seas. They feed on molluscs, and live in rocky areas and shallow waters.
  • Common lobster (Homarus gammarus): The common lobster, also known as the European lobster, is found around the UK and throughout the rest of Europe – hence its name. It lives amongst the rocky seabed, and are typically a bluish brown colour. Here at Bristol Aquarium our very own lobster is called Claudia – she’s a sassy character and very popular with our visitors!
  • Bull huss shark (Scyliorhinus stellaris) – This cold-water small shark is one of the larger catshark species, also known as a nursehound or large spotted dogfish. They can grow up to 160cm in length, and is brown-yellow in colour with large spots across its body. The bull huss spends the day hidden in crevices or rocks, and comes out more at night.

Alongside these fascinating species, you’ll also find the likes of the spiny lobster, Pacific sun starfish and more!

Who would enjoy the Sunken Shipwreck exhibit?

This exhibit is the perfect opportunity to learn more about the species that live in our local waters, so if you’ve often found yourself intrigued by the UK coastline and what creatures call it home – this is the exhibit for you.

Accessibility

Sunken Shipwreck, like all areas of Bristol Aquarium, is fully accessible to those with mobility issues, including wheelchair users. To find out more, please visit our accessibility page.

Current Water Temp

14 – 17.5 / 57 – 64

Water Type

Marine

Climate / Biome

Native

In This Exhibit

25 Species

Where are we?

UK

Favourites In This Exhibit

Look down on our huge native display!

Meet even more animals that prefer the colder waters – in our Ocean Floor exhibit!

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