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 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 (Japetella sp.) is a beautiful octopus 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.
View a video about the vampire squid and the dangers it faces in the wild
Learn more about the (pretty gross) diet of the vampire squid
Photos and videos courtesy MBARI.