The Tropical Pacific Gallery now features a cephalopod exhibit to highlight the beauty and fascinating characteristics of these animals. Cephalopods include squid, octopuses, and cuttlefish, and they can change their color and pattern and shoot a jet of ink when disturbed. The new exhibit, which formerly housed the ribbon dragons, is located across from the Tropical Reef main viewing window and is called Tentacles and Ink. This exhibit will feature animals like cuttlefish to showcase various species of cephalopods. Previous animals on view have included a day octopus and golden cuttlefish. Currently this exhibit houses a group of bigfin reef squid (Sepioteuthis lessoniana). These squid have eight arms, can change color, and can shoot a jet of ink if disturbed like their cephalopod relatives, octopuses and cuttlefish. Bigfin reef squid are found around coastal rocks and reefs in the Indo-Pacific and around the Hawaiian Islands. They feed on fish and crustaceans, using their two tentacles to guide food to their mouths. The fastest-growing large marine invertebrate, bigfin reef squid can grow to 13 inches long and 1.3 pounds in just four months. Like many cephalopod species, bigfin reef squid have a short lifespan of about eight months.
On April 20 Shelby the harbor seal gave birth to a pup, her third born here at the Aquarium. Her first, a female named Bixby, was born in 2012, and Toby, a male, was born in 2014. Harbor seal Troy is the father of all three pups. Shelby is one of the Aquarium’s original animals here since opening day. Troy, the Aquarium’s only male harbor seal, came to the Aquarium in 2007. Female harbor seals typically give birth to young starting at four to five years of age. However, Shelby became a mother for the first time at sixteen years old.