Here’s some paper craft fun to celebrate the winter season! Enjoy these downloadable and printable snowflake templates. Decorate your walls, windows, ceiling, holiday tree, and even your holiday cakes. These four designs are inspired by a few of our Woods Hole Science Aquarium residents:
- American lobster
- Atlantic salmon
- Northern pipefish and Irish moss
- Scrawled cowfish
All you need to do is print the template, grab your scissors, and start folding and cutting. Want to create your own? We’ve got you! We’ve provided a blank template for you to create your own marine life snowflake!
If you’re on Facebook or Twitter/X, be sure to post a photo of your snowflake, tag us and use the hashtag #WHSASnowflakes. You can find us at @NOAAFisheriesNEMA on Facebook or @NOAAFish_NEFSC on Twitter/X. We can’t wait to see them! The Woods Hole Science Aquarium is the country's oldest public aquarium in the United States and is located in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.
Print on 8.5 x 11 inch paper.
- Cut the square template from the rest of the printed page.
- Fold your square in half along the black lines to form a triangle. Fold each triangle in half another two times, always ending with the gray design area on top, facing up, and visible.
- Cut away gray areas from the triangle, leaving white areas uncut.
- For the American lobster template, to cut away the gray area around the head and claw, you’ll need to fold along the light gray dashed line and make a cut perpendicular to the line, then slide your scissors into the cut to continue cutting out that section.
- Gently unfold the cut template to reveal your snowflake.
- Hang in a window or on the wall, from the ceiling, on your holiday tree, or place your template over holiday baked goods, like a cake, and dust with powdered sugar or cocoa powder.
Warning: Snowflake cutting requires the use of scissors. Please carefully supervise children cutting out these templates.
They Call Him Sandy Claws
And we've also heard it told, that it’s something to behold, a lobster, huge and red! Well, maybe not red, but definitely hues of orange, light yellow, greenish-brown, gray, and blueish-purple. We've had a rainbow of colored and patterned American lobsters at our aquarium over the years. American lobsters are found in the northwest Atlantic Ocean from Labrador, Canada, to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. They’re most abundant in coastal waters from Maine through New Jersey, and are also common offshore to depths of 2,300 feet from Maine through North Carolina. Some fun facts about American lobsters, they:
- Have one big-toothed crusher claw used for pulverizing shells, and another that’s a finer edged ripper claw used for tearing soft flesh
- Tend to be loners and are very territorial
- May live to be 100 years old
- Can weigh up to 44 pounds
- Molt about 20 to 25 times over a period of 5 to 8 years between the time they hatch and when they are able to reproduce
- Eat their molted shell to replenish lost calcium and help harden their new shell
- Have colorless blood, but it turns blue when exposed to oxygen
Download the American lobster snowflake template (PDF, 1 page)
Eight Salmon a-Leaping
Atlantic salmon are often referred to as the King of Fish and are a NOAA Species in the Spotlight. Atlantic salmon are endangered and protected under the Endangered Species Act. There are Atlantic salmon populations in North America and northern Europe. In North America, populations were historically found from northern Quebec, Canada, southward to Long Island Sound in the United States.
They’re anadromous, meaning they live in both freshwater and saltwater. In U.S. populations, adult salmon leave the ocean to return to freshwater to breed. After hatching, they remain in rivers for the first 1 to 2 years of their life and then migrate downstream to the ocean. There they’ll spend about 2 to 3 years feeding, then return to their natal streams or rivers to spawn during the fall. Unlike Pacific salmon species, Atlantic salmon do not die after spawning, and adults can repeat the breeding cycle. They live for 4 to 6 years. Scientists at our science center study all aspects of Atlantic salmon and their work supports NOAA’s Atlantic Salmon Recovery Plan.
Download the Atlantic salmon snowflake template (PDF, 1 page)
Have Yourself a Merry Little Pipefish
Northern pipefish are peculiar and cryptic and that’s what makes them special. Their appearance and behavior make them masters of camouflage. Their color ranges from pale tan to brown and they have a mottled tannish and brown pattern. They can imitate blades of seagrass by aligning themselves vertically within a seagrass bed. They can grow to a length of 6 to 8 inches. Their long, thin bodies are covered with bony plates and they have a long, pronounced snout. Their range extends from the Gulf of St. Lawrence in Canada, south to Florida, and into the northwestern Gulf of Mexico. From spring to fall, they’re often found in nearshore areas like bays, estuaries, and even freshwater areas among seagrass beds and seaweed. In the winter they migrate to shallow continental shelf waters.
Northern Atlantic variety of Irish moss is a red seaweed often appearing deep red or dark purple. It’s short, frilly, and grows on rocks and boulders in the mid to low intertidal zone. In the United States, it doesn’t grow much further south than New Jersey. Irish moss provides food and refuge to a variety of invertebrates and fish, including the Northern pipefish where their distribution ranges overlap.
Fun facts include:
- Pipefish are closely related to seahorses
- Females lay eggs into the male pipefish’s brood pouch where they are then fertilized
- Males carry and nurse the eggs in their brood pouch until they hatch
- Pipefish are able to roll their eyeballs separately
- Irish moss was often used by early coastal homesteaders as a feed supplement for horses, cattle, pigs, and other domesticated animals
- In Ireland, Irish moss was used to make pudding and brew beer
- More than 150 years ago, an Irish immigrant named Daniel Ward saw an opportunity to build an Irish mossing industry in Scituate, Massachusetts
Simply Having a Wonderful Cowfish-Time
The mooo is right. Its horns are up. The pattern’s bright. And its skin is rough. Scrawled cowfish are one of the most fabulously odd looking fish. They look like a cow and a fish had a box-shaped baby. Their scientific name, Acanthostracion quadricornis, is a nod to the four horn-like structures found on their bodies. One pair can be found in front of their eyes giving it a cow-like appearance. The second pair can be found near the back end of the fish where the belly meets the caudal fin.
In the Western Atlantic Ocean, they’re found from Massachusetts to Brazil. They often have a blue-green to yellow cast or pattern, but may darken, pale, and/or change color. Our resident scrawled cowfish loves eating blue mussels and soft shell clams! She uses her little cone-shaped teeth to eat them. She also enjoys a nice piece of Nori seaweed sheet from time to time.
Download the scrawled cowfish snowflake template (PDF, 1 page)
Create Your Own Snowflake
Do you have a favorite marine animal or plant you’d like to turn into a snowflake? Download our blank template to make your own snowflake masterpiece!