Ever wonder about our largest hammerhead shark? She’s more than 11 years old and weighs 150 pounds!
A days-old baby swell shark is on exhibit in our Kelp Forest. The green-eyed shark is just one of many baby swells that regularly hatch inside the bustling exhibit.
It’s a lucky visitor that gets to see a baby or even an adult; they’re a big hit when they appear during the feeding show. This small (up to three feet), harmless and well-camouflaged shark prefers to hide in rocky crevices during the day, and feeds at night.
We often move young swells from the Kelp Forest to the small exhibits at the nearby touch pool, allowing visitors to get a close look at these beautiful sharks. As they grow, we move some to other exhibits, until they may eventually wind up back in the Kelp Forest exhibit.
We might trade adult swells with other aquariums in return for other species. Some we release into Monterey Bay via a detour into the outdoor Great Tide Pool, where they delight young kids participating in our Underwater Explorers summer program.
The swell shark is named for its unique defense posture. If threatened, it curls into a sharp U-shape, grasps its tail (caudal fin) in its mouth and swallows a large quantity of sea water, swelling to twice its normal size. This behavior makes it difficult for a predator to bite or evict a swell shark from its hiding spot.
Our most recent penguin chick is now on exhibit! Watch her amazing journey.
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Love sharks? We just added a 6-foot, 71-pound sevengill shark to our Monterey Bay Habitats exhibit, collected from San Francisco Bay. Besides being beautiful to look at, these sharks are part of ongoing research designed to help save sharks.
Happy #Friday! The men and women in tuxedos are reporting for duty. You?
Thanks to staffer Debra Naeve for the great video!
Made plans yet? We just put beautiful crown jellies on exhibit for this weekend’s Jellyfish Jamboree. Enjoy special presentations, groove to live music and learn how we raise one of the ocean’s most mysterious invertebrates. Included with admission.
New Mola in Town!
There’s a new ocean sunfish on exhibit in the Open Sea.
Our Husbandry team added the sunfish (Mola mola) over the weekend and it’s acclimated very quickly. It’s swimming well and makes a beeline to the surface to feed when our staff puts a colored target in the water as a signal that it’s mealtime.
We collected the sunfish in Monterey Bay on September 11, when it was just over 2 feet long and weighed nearly 32 pounds. On October 25, when it went on exhibit, it was 2 ½ feet long and weighed 46 pounds – quite a growth spurt!
Then again, the Mola mola – its Latin name, which means “millstone” – DOES tend to get big. It’s the largest bony fish on Earth, with some individuals topping out at 5,000 pounds. One sunfish we exhibited grew to weigh nearly 900 pounds before we returned it to the wild, with the help of a helicopter.
We’ve temporarily moved our two green sea turtles behind the scenes to help the sunfish adjust to its new surroundings. Before it gets too large, we’ll fit the sunfish with a tracking tag and release it in Monterey Bay. Based on results from other sunfish we’ve released, it will do well and travel far.
(© Monterey Bay Aquarium/Randy Wilder)
For Veterans Day weekend (Nov. 9-11) we’re proud to offer free admission to veterans, active-duty military, reservists and retirees (with valid ID). While family members don’t receive free admission, they can purchase discounted tickets in advance on military bases.
We’re working with gorgeous barrel jellies as part of “The Jellies Experience.”