Showing posts tagged as "exhibit update"
Did you know that the guitarfish has been playing it flat for 100 million years? We now have three making beautiful music together in our Aviary. It gets its name from a long, pointed snout and guitar-shaped body. It lies in ambush with its eyes sticking out of the sand, waiting for careless crabs to wander by. Lunch!
(Paul Vineyard photo)
Home sweet home! Watch our veined octopus set up camp in a glass jar.
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.
It takes two hands and a firm grip to hang onto the penguin chick that hatched in late August. After one week, it weighed 8.5 ounces; it now weighs more than eight times that much! We’re working behind the scenes with the little guy, getting it comfortable around people as preparation for eventual re-introduction to the Splash Zone exhibit.
These (eight) arms are for hugging! We’d love to know: how would you handle an octopus embrace?
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!
The Secret Lives of Seahorses closes this Monday, Sept. 2, so stop by the Aquarium to see these fascinating fishes before we wish them a fond farewell! Thanks to all of you who’ve loved this exhibit and made it such a great success.
Are you or your kids fans of “Finding Nemo”? Well, we’ve got good news in the Splash Zone. We have many baby “Nemos” (clownfish), “Dory” (palette tang), “Bubbles” (yellow surgeonfish), “Gill” (Moorish idols), “Crush” (sea turtle) and Sheldon (yellow seahorse). Ask our guides to help you find them!