Showing posts tagged as "exhibit updates"
We’ve posted photos of the amazing bigfin reef squid before—but no two images are alike! Like many cephalopods, these squid use pigmented skin cells, called chromatophores, to change color and pattern.
Check them out when Tentacles opens April 12
Enter to win a behind-the-scenes tour
Coming in Like a Lion(fish)
March is supposed to come in like a lion and go out like a lamb as stormy winter weather gives way to a milder spring. Now April is coming in like a lion, too – with the latest addition to our Splash Zone galleries.
The new arrival – the captivating and beautiful lionfish – isn’t just another pretty face. It’s an infamous fish that carries an important conservation message.
Far from Home
Native to the Indo-Pacific and Red Sea, lionfish are fabulous residents of their home waters. Unfortunately, they were introduced to waters off the U.S. east coast in the mid-1980s and are now a destructive invasive species from the mid-Atlantic through Florida, the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean and into Central and South America.
Cause for Concern
Their fluttering maroon-and-white-striped dorsal fins hide venomous spines that require our husbandry teams to take extra precautions around them. Yet the bigger concern is the threat these fish pose to ecosystems in waters where they don’t belong.
Invasive lionfish have no natural predators outside their home waters, and they compete with native fish for both food and habitat. Lionfish have a hearty appetite for commercially and ecologically important native fish species, and are able to thrive in waters from the shoreline to depths of more than 400 feet. In warmer waters, females are capable of spawning 30,000 eggs every four days, making them prolific breeders and poster fish for invasive species.
The Edible Invader
Our exhibit lionfish were collected from the Florida Keys, where the species has taken a foot – or rather fin – hold since 2009. Absent other lionfish predators, people have adopted the mantra “Eat ‘em to beat ‘em” to encourage consumption of these marine invaders. (They are as tasty as they are beautiful.)
Have you ever spied one of our octopuses on an energetic day? Sometimes you have to look hard to see them, and some days, well…this happens! Starting April 12, you’ll get more chances than ever to see curious cephalopods, when our new exhibit opens: Tentacles!
Could an animal’s name be more fitting? Behold the “wunderpus”! See this and other beautiful, shapeshifting cephalopods when our exhibit opens April 12, Tentacles: The Astounding Lives of Octopuses, Squid and Cuttlefishes!
Art? Ocean animals? Or both? Check out these amazing photos of our South American sea nettles, from staff photographer Randy Wilder. We grew them behind the scenes from tiny ephyrae (babies), and are the first aquarium ever to display them! Now in the Jellies Experience.
How would you like to be face-to-face with this fellow? Our divers don’t mind, and neither does the fish! We give our critically endangered black sea bass routine health checks and freshwater baths (to eliminate parasites), and just found out that the largest one weighs 230 pounds!
Just Chillin’ on #StPatricksDay! Our exhibit sea otters love ice treats as a form of enrichment. And our otter keepers really went all out this time!
(Thanks Mika Yoshida for the great photos!)
Happy #StPatricksDay! Even our otters are going green! This video is from a few years ago, but our current exhibit trio will be having a green ice enrichment later this morning. Check back!
We’re feeling the luck o’ the Irish around here. You?
(Nikki Dinsmore photo)