Showing posts tagged as "cuttlefish"
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!
Dress to impress: How the cool cuttlefish uses its color-changing skills to attract a mate.
Cuttlefish may be cute, but they’re armed to hunt! When a shrimp or fish is in range, the cuttlefish aims—and shoots out tentacles to seize its prey. We’re working with this species, the flamboyant cuttlefish (Metasepia pfefferi), for possible future exhibit. Learn more.
Did you know that we’re always investigating new species for future exhibits? Our cuttlefish specialist, Bret Grasse, is currently working with this beautiful broadclub cuttlefish (Sepia latimanus) behind the scenes!
These guys look like they don’t mess around! We have 15 dwarf cuttlefish (Sepia bandensis) on exhibit in the Splash Zone. This species is known to frequent the waters off Indonesia, Phillipines and Papua New Guinea. Ours are about six months old, and 2 1/2 inches long.
Love cuttlefish? We have four juvenile pharaoh cuttlefish (Sepia pharaonis) in the Splash Zone! But you’ll need to look carefully for these masters of camouflage. Let us know if you find them when you visit!
What’s it Take to Raise a Rare Cuttlefish?
The Aquarium has successfully raised and displayed the common cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis) and the pharaoh cuttlefish (Sepia pharaonis). But now our aquarists are hoping to exhibit a rare and striking new species, the flamboyant cuttlefish (Metasepia pfefferi).
Only two other aquariums have displayed this colorful species before. Native to coastal mudflats in northern Australia, the flamboyant cuttle has been traditionally difficult to obtain and exhibit. “It’s not easy to find in the wild,” says Bret Grasse, the aquarist overseeing the project. “Cephalopods in general are hard to ship. They’re very sensitive. We’ve been trying to get the species for years.”
Help came from the Long Island Aquarium and Exhibition Center (formerly Atlantis Marine World) in New York, which sent eight subadults. Of these, staff isolated what they thought were two females and one male. Sure enough, they observed mating, and soon after, eggs were laid. “We were able to raise subadults to an adult stage, and then they had babies of their own,” says Bret.
One challenge has always been the delicate nature of the gossamer-looking animals. So Bret developed a cushioned netted enclosure to keep them safe, which fits inside a larger display. It worked. Currently, he has 10 juveniles behind the scenes. “That makes us only the second aquarium to successfully raise hatchling from eggs in captivity,” says Bret. “Long Island being the first.”
All of the juvenile cuttles are healthy, and Bret’s hopeful that a future generation will go on exhibit one day.
Unlike other cuttlefish species, the flamboyant cuttlefish doesn’t dart away when threatened. It remains stationary, flashes its hypnotic color scheme and pulses its fins. While the flamboyant cuttle isn’t poisonous to the touch, some researchers believe they would be harmful, maybe deadly, if ingested. They live about a year, and eat a variety of foods. Babies are fed mysid shrimp and artemia, and adults are fed fish, crabs and shrimp. They can grow to about 10 centimeters, which is half the size of the two other cuttlefish species.
But the most impressive thing, says Bret, is the color. “Within seconds of emerging from the egg, they show these beautiful dark markings contrasting with brilliant pink tentacles. It’s incredible—unmatched in the animal kingdom!”
Bret’s become the Aquarium’s cuttle keeper since starting at the Aquarium two years ago. “I guess I’ve found my niche,” he says. “We’ve raised over 10 generations of pharaoh cuttlefish, and now two generations of flamboyant cuttlefish. It gives me great satisfaction.
“It’s also aligned with the mission of the Aquarium, and our desire not to remove wild stock from the oceans. We’ve cultured and given away well over 1,000 cuttlefish to other institutions!”
-Geoff Drake, Senior Web Writer
What does a flamboyant cuttlefish (Metasepia pfefferi) look like when it’s five hours old? Check it out! Our husbandry staff is working with this species behind the scenes for possible exhibit one day.
Love cuttlefish? Behind the scenes we’re working with a cool species that might go on exhibit one day. It’s called the flamboyant cuttlefish (Metasepia pfefferi).