Showing posts tagged as "octopuses"
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
An Ancient Fascination
Octopuses and their kin, sea creatures known collectively as cephalopods, have grabbed hold of our collective imagination for thousands of years.
We share this fascination as manifested in art, literature and contemporary culture in “Tentacles: The Astounding Lives of Octopuses, Squid and Cuttlefishes.” Highlights include:
- A steampunk-style sculpture made from raised copper and brass with glass in the Japanese technique called “Tankin.”
- Ancient Minoan pottery replicas painted with cephalopod designs.
- An illustration from Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.
- A drawing of octopuses attacking a fleet of ships, depicted as fact by a French naturalist in 1803.
- A highly detailed drawing of cephalopods by famed naturalist Ernst Haeckel.
- Glass models of squid and octopuses by father-son team of Leopold and Rudolph Blaschka.
- A replica of the famous abstract work, The Birth of the Cephalopods, by Mark Rothko.
- A dramatic depiction of a sea of ammonites 73 million years ago.
- The intriguing yet slightly disturbing image of Contessa with Squid by Omar Rayyan.
- Cephalopod tattoo art.
We also commissioned San Francisco Bay Area artist Nemo Gould to create three kinetic sculptures for “Tentacles” using found objects. Gould has transformed a jumble of junk into delightful dioramas that carry conservation messages delivered through a sense of wonderment.
“Tentacles" opens April 12.
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!
You don’t have to wait for our Tentacles special exhibition (opens April 12) to see cool cephalopods at the Aquarium. These red octopuses in our Splash Zone have been particularly active lately! Read how one adventurous red octopus went on a midnight ramble at the Aquarium
There’s no way that octopus can get out of its enclosure! Or IS there? Get a glimpse into the life of an octopus wrangler in this new video highlighting our forthcoming “Tentacles” special exhibition.
Join us in celebrating the 186th birthday of Jules Verne. Considered one of the fathers of science fiction, he’s best known for his novels Around the World in Eighty Days (1873), Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864), and our favorite, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1870).
Readers in Verne’s day loved his vivid portrayals of adventurers Phileas Fogg, Otto Lidenbrock and Captain Nemo, as well as his fantastical inventions — including a powered submarine and deep-sea exploration — some of which are now part of our modern world.
Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea inspired many ocean explorers, including William Beebe, Sir Ernest Shackleton and Robert Ballard. Jacques Cousteau called it his “shipboard bible.”
Verne’s stories are still widely appreciated today, nearly 150 years after they were first published. He is the second-most translated author in the world, between Agatha Christie and William Shakespeare.
We tip our hat to Verne and the giant octopus from Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea when ”Tentacles: The Astounding Lives of Octopuses, Squid and Cuttlefishes" opens April 12.
The special exhibition includes the most diverse living collection of these cool creatures ever, plus art, literature and contemporary cultural artifacts showing how they have captured our imagination for over 4,000 years. We feature the illustration above from as well as an early edition of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.
While we all have to wait a little to see “Tentacles,” we don’t have to wait to journey 20,000 leagues under the sea, courtesy of this Google Doodle from 2011 in honor of Verne’s birthday. Dive in!
These (eight) arms are for hugging! We’d love to know: how would you handle an octopus embrace?
Has this bobtail squid mastered the invisibility cloak? At night it uses symbiotic bacteria to hide its silhouette. It’s just one more species we’re investigating for “Tentacles,” the special exhibition opening next spring that focuses on octopuses, cuttlefish and their kin. Our aquarists are really flexing their creative muscles in preparation for the big show!
Wow! One of the red octopuses in our Kelp Zone gallery is laying eggs! It’s unlikely that these particular eggs are fertile or will produce baby octopuses, but it’s a great event nonetheless.
(Thanks Steve Johnston for the video!)