Showing posts tagged as "exhibit updates"
Are these visitors from another planet? Our bigfin reef squid were hatched and raised at the Aquarium, but their shimmering displays and flitting fins make them seem otherworldly. Like many cephalopods, these squid use pigmented skin cells, called chromatophores, to change color and pattern.
We have a new visitor from the deep in our Tentacles special exhibition: the cock-eyed squid!
True to its name, this squid has two differently-sized eyes, one much larger than the other. Scientists think the larger eye detects faint light that filters down from above, and the smaller one spots bioluminescence generated in the deep.
Like a giant strawberry, the cock-eyed squid’s bright red body is covered in tiny spots. But instead of seeds, these spots are photophores—organs that produce light. Photophores can be fine-tuned to match light from above, allowing the cock-eyed squid to become nearly invisible, or may be used to attract mates and curious prey.
Thanks to a collaboration with our partners at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), you can be one of the first people in the world to get eye-to-eye with this incredible animal while we help MBARI scientists learn more about a little-known deep-sea species. Like many cephalopods, the cock-eyed squid can be fragile and short-lived, so we encourage you to visit soon and check it out!
Learn more about MBARI’s work
(First photo: Steven Haddock (c) 2000 MBARI, Others: MBARI)
Are you an octopus admirer? Squid supporter? Cuttlefish crusader? Then get ready for #CephalopodWeek! This week we’re joining Science Friday, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute and others to bring you the latest and greatest stories from the tentacled world.
Watch this epic introduction to our Tentacles exhibition
Bet you didn’t see that coming! Watch these clever cephalopods capture prey in less time than it takes to say “tentacle.”
Learn more about our Tentacles special exhibition
Now that’s moody! Watch this day octopus change color three times in 30 seconds.
Learn more about this amazing animal
Happy #FathersDay! Did you know that in the seahorse family, fathers are tasked with carrying young?
These zebrasnout seahorses are currently on display on our Splash Zone!
Home on the Road: This Octopus Just Loves Life in a Shell
Is this the original RVer? The veined or “coconut” octopus’s home is wherever it puts down its, well, shell. And we’re glad to announce there’s one parked in our Tentacles exhibit right now.
But it’s not just a coconut shell that this cephalopod settles down in. Our Curator of Husbandry Operations, Paul Clarkson, says that the veined octopus (Amphioctopus marginatus) will “pick up anything at its disposal” to make a home on the road. This includes old cans, bottles, boots, shells and yes—coconuts. In fact, it’s proud to take up residence in any recently foreclosed property on the ocean floor. It’s all home as far as this cephalopod is concerned.
It could just be the ultimate recycler.
Paul was recently part of a trip to the Philippines, and his sole goal was to collect this curious cephalopod. The trip was organized by the California Academy of Sciences, which also happens to be the only other aquarium in the U.S. to have displayed them.
The dive site was near an old pier, which—unfortunately for the ocean, but perhaps not so much for the octopus—was rife with trash. He said they would often find the animals closed up in clam shells, with just their eyes poking out, surveying the scene. If spooked, Paul said, the octopus would “just duck down and close up the shell.” To move, it would pick up the shell and just hit the road.
This made life easy for the scientists on the trip. “To collect these octopuses, we would just take the whole house, with the animal inside. It was good for them, and easy for us.” The shell also furnished first-class accommodations on the flight to California.
Paul found that, if he was patient, the octopuses were quite sociable. “If we just sat still, with a crab or other prey, they would come right over and eat out of our hands.”
About the veined octopus
The veined octopus is found in Indo-Pacific waters, has a fist-sized body and lives to be a year old. Common prey items include crustaceans and small fishes.
You can find it in our Tentacles exhibit, in the spot formerly occupied by the two-spot octopus, which has been moved behind the scenes. Don’t be surprised to find this vagabond displayed with some of the junk that commonly forms its home in the wild.
New Penguin Chick Hatches at the Aquarium!
It’s so fluffy! We’re proud to announce that an African blackfooted penguin chick hatched on exhibit June 4, and you can see it now in our Splash Zone exhibit.
The chick, whose gender is unknown, is being cared for by its parents, Karoo and Messina. During a June 10 exam, the little one weighed 6.9 ounces (195 grams). That’s more than three times what it weighed at birth—a sign that it’s eating well.
“The parents are doing a great job caring for the chick,” said Aimee Greenebaum, associate curator of aviculture. “We enjoy seeing them be such attentive parents.”
The chick will remain with Karoo and Messina for about three weeks or until it starts leaving its nest. Then the family will be moved behind the scenes for the chick’s safety; it can’t be left on exhibit because it could accidentally drown or be injured by adult penguins. It will eventually be named, and the threesome will go back on exhibit after a few months.
This is the fifth chick hatched at the Aquarium. Of three that hatched in January 2011, the two males, Pebble and Tola, survived and are both doing well at Dallas World Aquarium. (Despite excellent parental and veterinary care, penguin chicks have a high rate of mortality.) Maq hatched in August 2013 and is on exhibit here. All are part of a Species Survival Plan for this threatened species. The plan, managed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, identified Karoo and Messina as genetically important, and we received permission to breed them.
Did cephalopods have the original invisibility cloak? Octopuses, squid and cuttlefishes create an amazing array of colors, patterns, textures and shapes for camouflage and communication.
Learn more about our Tentacles exhibit
Look, but don’t touch! These delicate-looking jelly relatives are siphonophores, related to the notorious Portuguese man-of-war. Each comprises a floating colony, with specialized individuals to sting, eat, or just swim.
Get a closer look at these unusual drifters and more in the Open Sea