Feeding frenzy! In the summer, abundant food sources like anchovies, jellies and plankton attract whales, turtles, birds and other wildlife to Monterey Bay. One way a humpback whale gobbles up this fishy feast is by lunge feeding, or swimming toward the surface with its mouth open and taking a big gulp. It then closes its mouth and pushes the water out through its baleen, swallowing only delicious fish and krill. Stop by the Wildlife Viewing Station on our back deck, where our naturalists can point out the goings on of nearby ocean wildlife.
Happy birthday, Rosa! We're celebrating our sea otter Rosa's 19th birthday—and the incredible life she's had over those years. She was found stranded as a four-week-old pup, and has gone on to rear 14 pups herself—the most of any of the moms in our surrogate program!
All eyes on the two-spot octopus! Glowing blue spots deceive predators and prey into thinking that the two-spot octopus has extra eyes. Disguise is essential since this animal spends most of its time hiding or searching for food on the seafloor. You can see the two-spot octopus now in Tentacles.
A happy hatching! The newest addition to our African penguin colony came out of its shell on July 7! This adorable, fluffy chick will stay on exhibit with its parents in Splash Zone until it becomes more mobile, and then move behind the scenes for a few months. This is the third chick to hatch at the Aquarium this year, following Monty and Poppy who both hatched in January. We don't know the chick's sex yet, but stay tuned on social media for updates!
Hang out with our hammerheads! A third scalloped hammerhead shark has been added to our Open Sea exhibit. This beautiful shark is between one and two years old. For the past year, it's been growing up at our off-site Animal Research and Care Center, but now is big enough to join the community of fishes on exhibit. The unmistakable shape of this shark's head is believed to help it track its prey, possibly by improving its sensory perception. The adaptation also appears to increase its agility and maneuverability over other shark species.
Meet nature's scuba divers! Sunburst diving beetles are now on exhibit in ¡Viva Baja! These colorful and active arthropods breathe air, but spend most of their lives under water. How? They carry their own air supply inside a bubble that looks like a bump on the rump.
Recognize this change artist? Our black-bellied plover’s switch from regular to breeding plumage is so dramatic visitors are asking if we have a new bird. For only a few months each summer, this shorebird goes from drab to dazzling with a vivid black face and belly, white mantle and speckled wings.
Penguin chick update! Monty and Poppy, the two African penguin chicks that hatched at the Aquarium on January 19, have rejoined our penguin colony in the Splash Zone exhibit after spending a few weeks behind the scenes learning how to swim. Look out for the two smaller birds with silvery feathers.
Comb jellies are living rainbows. As they move through the water, rows of cilia defract the light and produce a beautiful, shimmering effect. Our innovative aquarists cracked the code to successfully raise these delicate beauties behind the scenes, and now you can see several species on display in our Open Sea exhibit.
Fresh feathers for spring! The red phalarope and several other shorebirds in our Aviary have traded dull, drab winter hues for brighter, richer colors. It's the start of breeding season, and species like the black-bellied plover, American avocet and red knot are also strutting their stuff. Our knowledgeable volunteers inside this peaceful place can point out who's in bloom.
Did that algae just wink? If you spot a bit of seaweed with eyes and fins in our Splash Zone exhibit, you've found one of our new ribboned pipehorses! With its plant-like projections, this fish is often confused for one of its cousins, the weedy or leafy sea dragon. And like another cousin, the seahorse, it has a prehensile tail it uses to attach itself to sea grasses or corals. But despite the family resemblance, the ribboned pipehorse (Haliichthys taeniophorus) is its very own species.