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No snorkeling required… new stamps show life on a pacific reef

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More than 30 sea creatures are shown on a panoramic sheet of stamps released today by the U.S. Postal Service at a ceremony at Honolulu's Waikiki Aquarium. Postmaster General John E. Potter introduced the new Pacific Coral Reef pane of 10 stamps to an enthusiastic audience. The stamps are available at Honolulu Post Offices today and at Post Offices in other areas of the country beginning tomorrow.

The new stamps provide a glimpse beneath the water's surface of life on a Pacific coral reef. Some of the magnificent creatures featured include Clown Triggerfish, Sea Anemone, Reef Blacktip Shark, Emperor Angelfish, Threadfin Butterflyfish, Black-spotted Puffer, Snowflake Moray Eel, Spanish Dancer, Humphead Wrasse, Lionfish, Triton's Trumpet, Hawksbill Turtle, Crown-of-thorns Sea Star, Parrotfish, Prickly Red Sea Cucumber, Oriental Sweetlips, and a many varieties of coral.

Sixth in the Nature of America educational series promoting appreciation of major plant and animal communities, the Pacific Coral Reef stamp pane is the first to show the beauty and complexity of an aquatic ecosystem. Previous issues in the series were Sonoran Desert (1999), Pacific Coast Rain Forest (2000), Great Plains Prairie (2001), Longleaf Pine Forest (2002) and Arctic Tundra (2003).

Artist John D. Dawson of Hilo, Hawaii, portrays more than 30 different marine animals in this colorful painting of a coral reef typical of the western Pacific Ocean near Guam. In the scene, a large humphead wrasse eyes its neighbors as a blacktip shark prowls in the distance. Meanwhile, a spectacular lionfish forages among the coral for shrimps, crabs and small fish.

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