Posts Tagged 'octopus'



Lilly Pulitzer limited-edition signature National Aquarium scarf

We’re excited to announce that renowned designer Lilly Pulitzer has designed a signature scarf to celebrate the Aquarium’s 30th anniversary!

Lilly Pulitzer Aquarium Scarf

The silk and cashmere scarf, in Lilly’s playful hues of aqua blue and coral pink, features several of the Aquarium’s residents—the intelligent octopus, the endangered sea turtle, and the colorful sea stars—as well as a secret message hidden in the print!

Signature Design Print

The best part? Every scarf purchase makes a generous donation to the National Aquarium. Only 500 scarves were made, and are now available for purchase in the Aquarium’s gift shop, a few local Lilly shops, or via this order form, so get yours before they’re gone forever!

And make sure to check out the Lilly Pulitzer blog to see MARP’s Jenn Dittmar featured in Lilly’s Guest House!

The life of an octopus

Paul the Octopus, who captivated the world this summer with his accurate World Cup predictions, passed away last week at the age of 2 1/2. He was a resident of the Sea Life Aquarium in Germany. They reported that their beloved octopus died of natural causes. If you don’t know anything about the life of an octopus, you must be wondering why he died of natural causes at just 2 1/2.

Truth be told, the life span of a giant Pacific octopus is relatively short for such a large animal. They typically live to only 3 to 5 years of age, and don’t live to see their offspring.

Octopuses only reproduce once, and sadly, this event comes near the end of their life. After mating, the females lays up to 100,000 (often fewer) eggs and then stops eating. She remains with the eggs to protect them until they hatch, then she dies.  The male octopus also dies shortly after mating, but does not assist in protecting the eggs.

In such a short time, however, they grow an astonishing amount!  When an octopus hatches it is almost microscopic.  The young float in the water column. As plankton, they consume food and grow very quickly.  Within their first year they can grow to several pounds or more.  The size of a mature octopus often varies with each individual, but the largest recorded giant Pacific octopus weighed in at 156 pounds!

At the National Aquarium, we currently have two giant Pacific octopuses, Arya (approximately 35-pound female on exhibit) and Kraken (smaller, approximately 10-15-pound male in backup).  Arya came to us about a year ago and weighed just 5 pounds when she arrived!  She laid eggs in June and has exhibited a change in behavior consistent with senescence in females, although she is still eating off and on.  Kraken was also only about 5 pounds when he arrived in the spring.  His age is uncertain, as an octopus’s size doesn’t necessarily reflect its age.

Even though the life of an octopus is short, we do our best to keep them stimulated while they live here at the Aquarium. Did you know that their brain capacity is said to be similar to or somewhat more than that of a dog?! Each day aquarists conduct enrichment exercises to encourage cognitive thinking and natural hunting behaviors. Our octopuses are given a variety of items such as baby or dog toys, and puzzles like closed jars with food inside to keep them occupied.  Check out this video of  an octopus in action!

Another nautilus!

Another chambered nautilus has been added to the Sensing exhibit, located in the Surviving through Adaptation gallery on level 3. The nautilus is related to the octopus, clam, and squid, which, like the octopus, are all cephalopods (which means “head-foot”).

The nautilus is the only cephalapod with a fully developed shell for protection. It has poor vision, and more than 90 tentacles which do not have suckers. Their tentacles grip prey and deliver it to its crushing, parrot-like beak. The chambered nautilus at the Aquarium is fed crab, shrimp, and fish. A newly hatched nautilus is about the size of a quarter. 

Visit aqua.org to see video of the Aquarium’s nautilus.


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