Showing posts tagged as "cephalopods"
The female giant Pacific octopus has laid eggs! Look for a cluster attached to rocks in the top left corner of the right-hand exhibit. A female lays tens of thousands of eggs, in strands of about 250.
It’s unlikely that these particular eggs are fertile or will produce baby octopuses, however. The urge to lay eggs comes just once, and usually marks the end of the octopus’s life. It’s all part of the natural cycle for these magical and intelligent animals.
Hey, where’d he go? Can you find the octopus in the second shot? We’re working behind the scenes with the algae octopus (and many other species) in preparation for “Tentacles,” our special exhibition opening next spring.
Bringing You Behind the Scenes: A Look Inside Our “Tentacles” Laboratory
Ever wonder how you raise a baby squid? No one knows for sure, but if you’re Aquarist Chris Payne, you start with a trip to the hardware store for these unlikely ingredients: fishing line, plastic ties and Super Glue.
“The eggs need to be suspended in water, just like they are in the wild,” Chris says of cultivating bigfin reef squid (Sepioteuthis lessoniana) eggs. He explains that these squid attach their eggs to rocks or corals—anywhere they can be hidden. To replicate this behind the scenes, our aquarists rig up cool contraptions like this one—an inventive way of hanging the eggs in order for them to hatch.
The aquarists cleverly use monofilament line to sew through the tips of the pods, or “fingers,” gather them in small clusters, then suspend them using plastic ties. But other methods work, too. “It doesn’t matter how you hang them. We’ve even Super-Glued them to a solid structure hanging just below the surface of the water,” Chris says.
We’re currently raising about 300 pods, each containing two to six embryos. Suspending the eggs also allows aquarists to observe their growth. “You can actually see the embryo developing inside,” Chris says. The eggs grow in the three-inch pods for two to three weeks, and swell in size before hatching out. The squid are barely a quarter-inch long when they hatch but can grow to more than a foot.
Bigfin reef squid are just one of the fascinating species that’ll be on exhibit in “Tentacles: The Astounding Lives of Octopuses, Squid and Cuttlefishes,” opening next spring. It’ll feature a dozen species of octopuses and their kin—some of which have never been shown before.
As our aquarists work to cultivate and care for these mysterious creatures, we’ll be sharing more behind-the-scenes stories like this. So stay tuned!
Wow! One of the red octopuses in our Kelp Zone gallery is laying eggs! It’s unlikely that these particular eggs are fertile or will produce baby octopuses, but it’s a great event nonetheless.
(Thanks Steve Johnston for the video!)
Here’s something to look for on your next visit: pharaoh cuttlefish eggs! We always like it when animals reproduce on exhibit, as it’s a sign that we’ve created a healthy environment. Hope you’re having a great weekend!
Planning a visit over spring break? We just added some pharaoh cuttlefish to our Splash Zone exhibit. It’s amazing to watch them hover just above the ocean floor and hunt food with their long tentacles. They’re visitor faves!
Visitor from another planet? For the first time ever, we have bigfin reef squid (Sepiateuthis lessonouiana) in our Splash Zone exhibit!
Bigfin reef squid grow to 16 inches and live about a year; the ones on display are several months old. We hatched these from eggs we received earlier in the year from Japan. Like their squid and cuttlefish relatives, they feed on fish and crustaceans. They inhabit shallow temperate and tropical coastal waters in the Western Pacific, Indian Ocean and Hawaiian Islands. Unlike our local market and Humboldt squid, bigfin spend most of their time near coastal rocks and reefs. In many ways they look like cuttlefish due to their large fins and habit of sculling near reef structures.