Showing posts tagged as "cuttlefish"

Excited about “Tentacles”, our forthcoming special exhibition focusing octopuses, cuttlefish and kin? Take a behind-the-scenes look at the workshop of Bay Area artist Nemo Gould, who’s creating our amazing kinetic sculptures from found materials.

Learn more about the exhibit

Is there love in the air? Our beautiful pharaoh cuttlefish have been actively breeding in recent days. Eventually we’ll take the eggs behind the scenes and incubate them in our amazing cuttlefish “bubbler.”
Learn how we built this fabulous fizzer

Is there love in the air? Our beautiful pharaoh cuttlefish have been actively breeding in recent days. Eventually we’ll take the eggs behind the scenes and incubate them in our amazing cuttlefish “bubbler.”

Learn how we built this fabulous fizzer

Our crazy cuttlefish egg bubbler may have been made from household items for $2.50, but most of our animal care efforts cost a great deal more than that! How much more? Find out and help us by donating to our Fund for the Animals.

Our crazy cuttlefish egg bubbler may have been made from household items for $2.50, but most of our animal care efforts cost a great deal more than that! How much more? Find out and help us by donating to our Fund for the Animals.

A Better Bubbler

How do you incubate cuttlefish eggs behind the scenes in preparation for our forthcoming “Tentacles” special exhibition? You could, at a cost of hundreds of dollars, buy commercial incubators. But that would be too easy. Plus, Aquarist Bret Grasse figured he could create something just as good as the store-bought jobs.

For $2.50 and “a day in the life of one volunteer,” he makes a better bubbler out of soda bottles, plastic tubing and silicone glue. It looks like mad science, but it works. To date, he’s produced hundreds of baby cuttlefish for exhibit using the system.

The First Step: Drink the Soda

Bret and his husbandry colleagues have been working on this fabulous fizzer for about four years. The challenge is to “get the greatest number of healthy hatchlings” from a given clutch. He could let nature do its job, by having the cuttlefish mom rear the little ones. But ironically, this doesn’t always achieve the best outcome, says Bret. The mom sometimes forgets where she left the clutches, or neglects them. Plus, removing the eggs and raising them separately allows mom to focus on what she does best: laying  more eggs.

The first step in making the world’s best egg bubbler is the easiest: drink the soda. That done, Bret cuts the bottle in half, and affixes a small screen between the two pieces. The bottom end, where the cap used to be, also has a screen. Then the whole thing is submerged. Next, a tube injects air into the top half of the bubbler, drawing water oh-so-gently up through the whole device, and aerating the eggs with the perfect fizziness—not too much, not too little.

A Cuttlefish the Size of a Pea

While the cuttlefish eggs do their dance in the bubbler, Bret watches and waits. Eventually, the faintest trace of a baby cuttlefish appears in the egg, and an eyespot. When they finally hatch, they’re the size of a pea. The whole thing takes only a few weeks. The baby cuttlefish can then go on exhibit, where they  reach their  three-inch full grown size in about three months.

So far, the bubblers have been used for pharaoh, flamboyant and dwarf cuttlefish, but more species are being considered as we get closer to the launch of the new exhibit April 12.

“We’re so fortunate to have the opportunity to experiment with these techniques,” says Bret. “It not only helps us produce animals for exhibit, but it plays into our conservation mission, by reducing pressure on wild stocks.

“It’s a dream come true for me, Chris Payne and Alicia Bitondo,” says Bret. “We couldn’t be happier to work with these animals and do this kind of troubleshooting.”

Plus, the soda is free.

Learn more about our forthcoming special exhibition, “Tentacles”.

—Geoff Drake

They’re called cuttlefish, but we completely understand when visitors mistakenly call them “cuddle” fish. They’re very high on the cuteness scale! We have 28 juvenile pharaoh cuttlefish on exhibit now in the Splash Zone, raised from eggs that were laid on exhibit.
And here’s an insider tip: this winter we’ll be working on a new special exhibition devoted to octopuses, cuttlefish and their kin, to open in the spring. We hope you like it!
Learn more.

They’re called cuttlefish, but we completely understand when visitors mistakenly call them “cuddle” fish. They’re very high on the cuteness scale! We have 28 juvenile pharaoh cuttlefish on exhibit now in the Splash Zone, raised from eggs that were laid on exhibit.

And here’s an insider tip: this winter we’ll be working on a new special exhibition devoted to octopuses, cuttlefish and their kin, to open in the spring. We hope you like it!

Learn more.

What’s the best way to chronicle a visit to the Aquarium? We just love these computer drawings from 10-year-old visitor Anushka Karkera of Fremont, CA! 

Plan your own visit.

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!
Learn more about 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!

Learn more about cuttlefish.

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!
Learn more about the pharaoh cuttlefish.

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!

Learn more about the pharaoh cuttlefish.

Dress to impress: How the cool cuttlefish uses its color-changing skills to attract a mate. 
Check out our latest podcast! 

Dress to impress: How the cool cuttlefish uses its color-changing skills to attract a mate. 

Check out our latest podcast

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.

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.