Showing posts tagged as "flapjack octopus"
Now on Exhibit: Two Rare Deep-Sea Cephalopods!
We just added two striking deep-sea animals to our Tentacles special exhibition: the vampire squid and the Japetella octopus. The vampire squid has never been exhibited at any public aquarium before. Both were collected with the help of our sister organization, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI).
The vampire squid (Vampyroteuthis infernalis) is an ancient animal that lives in deep tropical and temperate waters—like the Monterey submarine canyon. Despite its sinister appearance—and its name, which means “vampire squid from hell”—this animal is a scavenger. It lives on “marine snow” that rains down from above: a mixture of poop, dead animal parts and mucus.
The Japetella octopus (Japetella sp.) is a beautiful animal that lives in the midwater realm, hundreds of feet below the surface but well above the sea floor. It has chromatophores that enable it to go from see-through with spots to almost a solid orange color. MBARI’s remotely operated vehicles have observed them on video both in Monterey Bay and—even more often—on expeditions to the Gulf of California.
Like many cephalopods, these animals can be fragile and short-lived, so we encourage you to visit soon and check them out!
They’re in the exhibit where we recently housed two flapjack octopus, which we’ve now moved behind the scenes.
Photos and videos courtesy MBARI.
Behold the Flapjack Octopus!
Does this octopus look familiar? The “flapjack octopus” is a rarely observed, deep-sea species, but you may know it better as the inspiration for the animated character Pearl in Finding Nemo. It was collected by our sister organization, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, and it’s on exhibit now in our Tentacles special exhibition, which opened this morning for members, and tomorrow (April 12) for the general public!
These images show the flapjack octopus (Opisthoteuthis sp.) in the wild, and in on exhibit. We use a red light to display this species. Since the octopus can’t see red light, it thinks it’s in the darkness of the deep sea, its natural environment.
Very little is known about the life history of these animals. They’re one of the cirrate octopuses – a tiny group within the overall family. We may yet discover more species in this group—with the help of MBARI. They’re helping us learn about many deep-sea species, through video observation and occasionally collecting individuals. One of the flapjack octopuses even laid eggs in our behind-the-scenes holding area. That first batch didn’t mature, but we’ll try again if any other individuals reproduce.
Learn more about the exhibit