Showing posts tagged as "squid"

How many colors can you count on this kaleidoscopic bigfin reef squid? Like many cephalopods, they shift colors to attract mates or intimidate competition. You’ll never see the same pattern twice! Learn more

How many colors can you count on this kaleidoscopic bigfin reef squid? Like many cephalopods, they shift colors to attract mates or intimidate competition. You’ll never see the same pattern twice!

Learn more

Vampire (Squid) Diaries

Fear this? Maybe not. The vampire squid has a scary name but just eats dead stuff. With help from our colleagues at MBARI, we just added a huge, 12-inch “vamp” to our Tentacles exhibit!

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. Look closely to see its thin feeding filament. This sticky tentacle catches “marine snow” that rains down from above: a mixture of poop, dead animal parts and mucus. 

Learn more about Tentacles

(Thanks to staffer Patrick Webster for the great photos)

Need a cool image to enliven your computer desktop? How about this crazy cock-eyed squid? 
We’re displaying amazing deep-sea cephalopods like the cock-eyed squid in Tentacles with the help of our sister organization, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI). These animals come and go so check here and on our Facebook page for the latest!View all our wallpapers

Need a cool image to enliven your computer desktop? How about this crazy cock-eyed squid?

We’re displaying amazing deep-sea cephalopods like the cock-eyed squid in Tentacles with the help of our sister organization, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI). These animals come and go so check here and on our Facebook page for the latest!

View all our wallpapers


How do we collect and display amazing deep-sea cephalopods for our Tentacles exhibit? It takes a big boat, a remote-controlled robot, and help from our colleagues at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute!

Learn more about the flapjack octopus and the cock-eyed squid.

(Jonathan Wolf photos)

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.

Learn more

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)

Deep-sea squid: elusive, mysterious and parental? While some squid in the open ocean release their eggs to drift in the water column, our research partners at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute have discovered a deep-sea squid (Bathyteuthis berryi) that broods her eggs in a sheet attached to her body! It’s the second known instance of parental care in squid. Watch MBARI’s latest video for some amazing footage!

Missed the start of #CephalopodWeek? Catch up with this cephalopod video triple feature from Science Friday! Get a glimpse behind the scenes of the Aquarium and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute and see how we culture cuttlefish and study mysterious vampire squid.

Watch the videos

But wait—there’s more! Tune in to Science Friday tomorrow—part of the radio broadcast will feature the ocean’s most mysterious multi-armed family.

The Squid Are In!

By Jim Covel, Director of Guest Experience

When we say “the squid are in,” we could be talking about the Aquarium’s new special exhibition, Tentacles: The Astounding Lives of Octopuses, Squid and Cuttlefishes. However, at this time of the year we’re talking about the annual spawning run of market squid in Monterey Bay. 

Many a night in the past month I’ve awoken to an eerie green glow in my bedroom window, emanating from the bay. This isn’t an alien sighting, but it could be described as a visitation from a bygone era. The green light is used by squid fishers to lure these cagey cephalopods near the surface where they can be more easily caught. Large purse seiner boats quickly encircle the concentrated schools and haul them aboard by the ton. Market squid is the largest commercial fishery in Monterey Bay, with the catch running into thousands of tons in a good year—and by all accounts 2014 is turning out to be a great squid year in Monterey Bay.

Part of our history

The squid fishery is a remnant of Monterey’s past. Chinese fishers came to Monterey in the 1850s and are credited with starting commercial fishing in the bay, including squid. They developed the technique of fishing at night, with a fire burning in a wire basket suspended over the gunwhale of a sampan boat.  Squid would rise to the light and were easily dipped out with a net. In those days the squid were salted and dried for shipment to Asia.

Today the process is largely the same, although the scale has increased dramatically. Specialized electric lights that emit a green light have replaced the flame in a basket. The sampans are long gone and today there are large purse seiners that can land as much as 40 tons of squid in a few hours. Much of our Monterey squid still goes to China to be processed, as well as Taiwan or India. That squid is consumed in Asia or shipped around the world—including the United States. So even when you’re eating market squid caught in California, odds are that it has traveled across the Pacific for processing.

That’s a lot of squid

The statewide limit is 118,000 short tons, set by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. After the season starts April 1, squid landings are reported every week. (The total through June 6 was 7,323 short tons.) When the total for all landings reach the limit, the fishery is closed for that year. Some years that limit is never reached; in other years the total may be reached in six to eight months. In order to give the squid (and fishers) a break, there is no commercial squid fishing from noon Friday through noon Sunday. On average, the squid fishery earns over $70 million per year in California. 

Right now the Aquarium feels like “squid central.” From the deck we can watch over a dozen purse seiners fishing for squid next to the Monterey and Pacific Grove. Inside, we can watch the amazing behaviors of several species of live squid on display in Tentacles exhibit. And if that isn’t enough, Cindy’s Waterfront Restaurant at the Aquarium serves some very tasty calamari!

Read our Seafood Watch recommendation for market squid

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


About me

The Monterey Bay Aquarium, perched on the edge of a world-famous coastline, is your window to the wonders of the ocean. It’s located on historic Cannery Row in Monterey and is open daily except Christmas Day.

For more information about our animals and exhibits, and to view our live web cams, please visit www.montereybayaquarium.org.

Hours of operation vary by season. Daily schedules and tickets are available on our website or by calling
(831) 648-4800.