Nature Frenzy

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Posts tagged "sea creatures"

It’s the Octopus Week at the Seattle Aquarium from today until Feb. 26.

Here are some fun facts on the sea giant:

(from Seattle Aquarium’s blog)

Scientific name: Enteroctopus dofleini
What do you call more than one octopus? Although many believe the correct plural form of octopus is octopi, it’s actually octopuses.

Weight: Octopuses average 60 pounds, but they can weigh up to 150 – with an arm span of up to 20 feet across! It’s no wonder they’re the largest species of octopus in the world.

Life span: 3-5 years. At the Aquarium, we keep our octopuses for 6-12 months before releasing them back into Puget Sound to complete their life cycle and reproduce.

Growth rate: Octopuses gain 1-2 % of their body weight every day. That’s the equivalent of the average human gaining 2-4 pounds a day!

Boneless with a beak? Giant Pacific octopuses have no bones but they do have a beak, much like a parrot’s. This lack of bones allows them to fit in and through incredibly tight spaces, but their beaks put limits on that. In general, if they can fit their beaks through something, they can squeeze the rest of their bodies through as well.

Enrichment at the Seattle Aquarium: We’ve created a variety of activities, called enrichments, to help keep our resident octopuses healthy and happy. For instance, we do food puzzles to help bring out their natural behaviors and keep them mentally stimulated. We put food inside jars, pill bottles, ice toys – even Mr. Potato Head – and let them figure out how to retrieve it. We also do live food enrichment with their favorite foods, Dungeness crab and live clams.

The Lions Mane Jellyfish is the largest jellyfish in the world. They have been swimming in arctic waters since before the dinosaurs (over 650 million years ago) and are among some of the oldest surviving species in the world.

The largest can come in at about 6 meters and has tentacles over 50 meters long. Pretty amazing when you think these things have been swimming around for so long.

They have hundreds of poisonous tentacles that it used to catch passing by fish. it then slowly drags in it’s prey and eats it. 

That is terrifying. 

(via theweekmagazine)

Northern Hawaiian humpbacks vs. Southern Tongan humpbacks

Appearance: Southern humpbacks have more whites on their body than Northern humpbacks.

Songs: The songs of Southern humpbacks sound cheerful with a higher pitch, while the songs of northern Hawaiian humpbacks have more of a serious blue tune. (Note: only male humpbacks sing.)


Left: A southern humpback whale (source: by Sahlan Hayes)

Right: A northern humpback whale (source: from NOAA Marine Operations)

Unique foraging behaviour of humpback whales: bubble net feeding

The way humpback whales hunt will give you a second thought on their image of being the “gentle sea giants”. Humpback whales manipulate their preys with a sophisticated use of bubbles. I break down the process into five steps for easier understanding.

1) The hunt starts by a group of humpbacks diving into the deep ocean.

2) Bubble blowing whales create a long circular line of bubbles that rise to form a wall.

3) One male whale initiates a series of feeding calls which drive the fish to move away the feedig calls towards the bubbles wall.

4) As the fish comes close, the whales enclose the wall and create a cylinder with the fish trapped eventually at the surface.

5) The whales move upwards together and gulp the preys in a sudden attack.

Side fact: the split of a humpback whale’s jaw can be over 4 metres.

(Image by Peat Bakke)