Our Stumpy Cuttlefish are Laying Eggs!

There’s a lot going on with the stumpy cuttlefish in our Tentacles exhibit. Males are putting on their formal wear, turning jet black and rippling their fins, trying to attract females. The courtship efforts have not been in vain—you can clearly see black clusters of eggs on exhibit, which “look like dark grapes,” according to Aquarist Bret Grasse. Scientists think that the eggs are black because the female wraps them in a bit of ink, making them less palatable to predators. 

“They’re laying them on exhibit every day,” says Bret. The “stumpies”—like most cuttlefish on exhibit—are cultivated right here at the Aquarium, reducing the need to collect in the wild. We also occasionally donate babies to other accredited institutions. 

Stumpy cuttlefish (Sepia bandensis) is a squat species that forages along the seafloor. It may be small, but it’s a mighty hunter. It hunkers down among rocks, coral, sand and algae, blending with its environment, then ambushes prey. Its native range is from Malaysia to the Philippines.

Learn more about our Tentacles exhibit

Here’s lookin’ at you! The sarcastic fringehead likes to spend most of its time sitting in a bottle or boot in our “junk tank,” and has developed an impressive ability to independently move its eyes to scan for prey or predators. Make a fringehead your computer wallpaper

Here’s lookin’ at you! The sarcastic fringehead likes to spend most of its time sitting in a bottle or boot in our “junk tank,” and has developed an impressive ability to independently move its eyes to scan for prey or predators.

Make a fringehead your computer wallpaper

"Most people go their whole lives without seeing them or coming to understand their beauty, quirkiness and braininess."
Learn how our colleagues at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute are helping us display amazing deep-sea animals  

"Most people go their whole lives without seeing them or coming to understand their beauty, quirkiness and braininess."

Learn how our colleagues at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute are helping us display amazing deep-sea animals

 

Vampire (Squid) Diaries

Fear this? Maybe not. The vampire squid has a scary name but just eats dead stuff. With help from our colleagues at MBARI, we just added a huge, 12-inch “vamp” to our Tentacles exhibit!

The vampire squid (Vampyroteuthis infernalis) is an ancient animal that lives in deep tropical and temperate waters—like the Monterey submarine canyon. Despite its sinister appearance—and its name, which means “vampire squid from hell”—this animal is a scavenger. Look closely to see its thin feeding filament. This sticky tentacle catches “marine snow” that rains down from above: a mixture of poop, dead animal parts and mucus. 

Learn more about Tentacles

(Thanks to staffer Patrick Webster for the great photos)

Have you seen the amazing wildlife on the bay this season? We’re here to help! We recently upgraded our otter spotter station. A  ”scoreboard” keeps track of all the species seen that day—from sea otters to harbor seals, sea lions, whales and dolphins. Using our high-powered binoculars, it’s not unusual to spot over a dozen species of seabirds in a day! Expert interpreters are there to answer questions and add stories about the animals. It’s all about taking advantage of the Aquarium’s greatest asset—Monterey Bay itself! 

Want to watch from afar? Check out our live web cam


#ThrowbackThursday: You’re here to see me?! Students arriving to visit the new Open Sea wing in 1996 were in for a goofy shark surprise. Go on your own shark tour (no costume required)

#ThrowbackThursday: You’re here to see me?! Students arriving to visit the new Open Sea wing in 1996 were in for a goofy shark surprise.

Go on your own shark tour (no costume required)

Sharks are voracious eating machines: fact or fiction? The Aquarium’s biggest sharks are also the lightest eaters! Broadnose sevengill sharks reach 10 feet, but these giants digest meals slowly and only eat every few weeks.

Learn how we’re studying and helping save these majestic animals

Living the Dream: Cancer Survivor to Teen Conservation Leader

By Tessa Terrill, Public Relations Intern

How often in life do things come full circle?

Seamus Morrison experienced a full-circle moment this summer at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

He first came to the Aquarium in 2010 through the Make-A-Wish Foundation as an 11-year old with a life-threatening brain cancer – and a dream of becoming a marine biologist.  He went behind the scenes to feed the cuttlefishes, spent a morning talking to scientists with our partners at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), and an afternoon with dolphins and seals at Long Marine Lab in Santa Cruz. He even took two scuba dives in our Great Tide Pool.

“It was really fun at the time, and I loved the experience,” he says.” But now it’s just so much more. I look back on it and I just think it was one of the best experiences of my life.” 

Cancer-free and riding the wave

Four years later, cancer-free and still riding the marine biology wave, he and his parents, James and Riad Morrison, packed their bags and made the trip from Ojai in southern California to spend the summer in Monterey so Seamus could follow his dream – as a Teen Conservation Leader (TCL) at the Aquarium.

George Matsumoto, Senior Research and Education Specialist at MBARI and his MBARI guide four years ago, is overjoyed that Seamus came back as a teen leader, and said Seamus told him how much he was growing through his participation in the program. 

When he was 10, Seamus was diagnosed with a rare brain tumor called medulloblastoma. That didn’t dim his passion for diving headfirst into marine biology, a passion that was present since he was very young.

Ocean-ified Halloween

Seamus’s dad James, who has a successful career as an actor with roles in shows like “24” and “Revenge”, said that Seamus’s Halloween costumes have always been ocean-ified. 

One year, he was a scuba diver and even had a tank made of a cereal box that he would open with the pull of a cord to collect trick-or-treat candy!

For six weeks this summer, now 15-year-old Seamus took his passion and spread it among Aquarium guests as he shared stories about the range of sea life exhibited throughout the aquarium – including as a narrator for Kelp Forest feeding shows. 

When Seamus was getting ready to narrate the feeding one day, he was surprised to learn that the diver was the one who took him into the Great Tide Pool through Underwater Explorers four years ago. 

'An amazing journey'

“That (Make-A-Wish) experience and his continued relationship with the Aquarium have further inspired him toward the dream of one day becoming a real marine biologist,” says his mother, Riad. “It’s been and continues to be an amazing journey.” 

Seamus said he loves the Monterey Bay Aquarium because there’s “more stuff” here than at any other aquarium he’s visited.

He’s already taking action to build on his summer experience and help inspire ocean conservation. He’s emailed his teachers about a plan to create a conservation lab when he returns to school. He said his teachers are on board and he’ll talk to them this fall about how to make it a reality.

Learn more about our conservation leadership programs for teens

Help make our teen programs possible with your donation

(Photos by Randy Tunnell)

Finned and friendly! Despite what you may see on #SharkWeek, not all sharks are scary. Our Underwater Explorers sometimes swim with a swell shark, as you can see in this diver’s-eye video.

Learn more about our surface scuba program for kids eight to 13


Shark supporter? We’re proud to be one of the official sponsors of shark fin legislation—a movement that has spread to 12 states and territories, and around the world. Now THAT’S a reason to celebrate #SharkWeek! Help sharks by using our Seafood Watch guides(Photo: Michael Burns)

Shark supporter? We’re proud to be one of the official sponsors of shark fin legislation—a movement that has spread to 12 states and territories, and around the world. Now THAT’S a reason to celebrate #SharkWeek!

Help sharks by using our Seafood Watch guides

(Photo: Michael Burns)

About me

The Monterey Bay Aquarium, perched on the edge of a world-famous coastline, is your window to the wonders of the ocean. It’s located on historic Cannery Row in Monterey and is open daily except Christmas Day.

For more information about our animals and exhibits, and to view our live web cams, please visit www.montereybayaquarium.org.

Hours of operation vary by season. Daily schedules and tickets are available on our website or by calling
(831) 648-4800.