Showing posts tagged as "cephalopods"

Can’t stop watching this strolling cephalopod? Don’t be fooled by its delicate movement—the mimic octopus can easily scare off potential predators. In a flash, this master of mimicry changes its color and shape to hover like a lethal lionfish or slither like a poisonous sea snake. Learn more

Can’t stop watching this strolling cephalopod? Don’t be fooled by its delicate movement—the mimic octopus can easily scare off potential predators. In a flash, this master of mimicry changes its color and shape to hover like a lethal lionfish or slither like a poisonous sea snake. 

Learn more

Need a cool image to enliven your computer desktop? How about this crazy cock-eyed squid? 
We’re displaying amazing deep-sea cephalopods like the cock-eyed squid in Tentacles with the help of our sister organization, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI). These animals come and go so check here and on our Facebook page for the latest!View all our wallpapers

Need a cool image to enliven your computer desktop? How about this crazy cock-eyed squid?

We’re displaying amazing deep-sea cephalopods like the cock-eyed squid in Tentacles with the help of our sister organization, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI). These animals come and go so check here and on our Facebook page for the latest!

View all our wallpapers


Happy #Friday! There’s nothing common about this cuttlefish: the common cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis)  uses its skin to communicate—flashing stripes and patches of color convey threats or courtship messages. We’ve raised generations of them at the Aquarium.

On exhibit in Tentacles!

Last chance! Share your love of #MBATentacles on Instagram or Twitter and you could win one of eight packs of eight tickets to the Aquarium! Sweepstakes ends Friday. 

Enter now

Have our eight-armed animals captured your imagination? Check out these submissions to our #MBAtentacles sweeps and share your own on Instagram or Twitter—you could win! 

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Have you entered our #MBATentacles sweeps yet? Your submissions so far are crazy, creepy, cute, cuddly and just plain cool! Submit yours today via Twitter or Instagram and you could win.

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Our aquarists can get pretty wrapped up in their work! Share YOUR love of cephalopods on Instagram or Twitter and you could win one of eight packs of eight tickets to the Aquarium! #MBATentaclesLearn more 

Our aquarists can get pretty wrapped up in their work! Share YOUR love of cephalopods on Instagram or Twitter and you could win one of eight packs of eight tickets to the Aquarium! #MBATentacles

Learn more 


Where do you find inspiration? First as a volunteer and now as an assistant aquarist, Michelle Stamme loves working with our eight-armed animals—and painting them!

Share your love of #MBATentacles and you could win!

How do we collect and display amazing deep-sea cephalopods for our Tentacles exhibit? It takes a big boat, a remote-controlled robot, and help from our colleagues at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute!

Learn more about the flapjack octopus and the cock-eyed squid.

(Jonathan Wolf photos)

The Squid Are In!

By Jim Covel, Director of Guest Experience

When we say “the squid are in,” we could be talking about the Aquarium’s new special exhibition, Tentacles: The Astounding Lives of Octopuses, Squid and Cuttlefishes. However, at this time of the year we’re talking about the annual spawning run of market squid in Monterey Bay. 

Many a night in the past month I’ve awoken to an eerie green glow in my bedroom window, emanating from the bay. This isn’t an alien sighting, but it could be described as a visitation from a bygone era. The green light is used by squid fishers to lure these cagey cephalopods near the surface where they can be more easily caught. Large purse seiner boats quickly encircle the concentrated schools and haul them aboard by the ton. Market squid is the largest commercial fishery in Monterey Bay, with the catch running into thousands of tons in a good year—and by all accounts 2014 is turning out to be a great squid year in Monterey Bay.

Part of our history

The squid fishery is a remnant of Monterey’s past. Chinese fishers came to Monterey in the 1850s and are credited with starting commercial fishing in the bay, including squid. They developed the technique of fishing at night, with a fire burning in a wire basket suspended over the gunwhale of a sampan boat.  Squid would rise to the light and were easily dipped out with a net. In those days the squid were salted and dried for shipment to Asia.

Today the process is largely the same, although the scale has increased dramatically. Specialized electric lights that emit a green light have replaced the flame in a basket. The sampans are long gone and today there are large purse seiners that can land as much as 40 tons of squid in a few hours. Much of our Monterey squid still goes to China to be processed, as well as Taiwan or India. That squid is consumed in Asia or shipped around the world—including the United States. So even when you’re eating market squid caught in California, odds are that it has traveled across the Pacific for processing.

That’s a lot of squid

The statewide limit is 118,000 short tons, set by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. After the season starts April 1, squid landings are reported every week. (The total through June 6 was 7,323 short tons.) When the total for all landings reach the limit, the fishery is closed for that year. Some years that limit is never reached; in other years the total may be reached in six to eight months. In order to give the squid (and fishers) a break, there is no commercial squid fishing from noon Friday through noon Sunday. On average, the squid fishery earns over $70 million per year in California. 

Right now the Aquarium feels like “squid central.” From the deck we can watch over a dozen purse seiners fishing for squid next to the Monterey and Pacific Grove. Inside, we can watch the amazing behaviors of several species of live squid on display in Tentacles exhibit. And if that isn’t enough, Cindy’s Waterfront Restaurant at the Aquarium serves some very tasty calamari!

Read our Seafood Watch recommendation for market squid

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.