Tentacles and Beaks of Cephalopods | December, 2015

Investigating the anatomical differences of cephalopod beaks and tentacles with regards to their diet.


Breaking news from the Department of Awesome Cuteness: The Birch Aquarium at Scripps in San Diego, CA has just witnessed the hatching of a baby Nautilus. Holy cats, that is one powerfully cute cephalopod. Welcome to the world, little one!

“This little guy or gal was a long time in the making. The egg was laid in early November of 2012 and the hatching process has taken weeks… all leading up to last Wednesday, when it finally emerged! So far, the hatchling appears to be doing well. However, raising a baby Nautilus is both an honor and challenge because only a handful of aquariums have had the opportunity.”

Visit ZooBorns to read more about this tentacular development and check out photos of the hatching process.

We’re geeking out over the newest addition to our Tentacles exhibition: the striped pyjama squid!

These shy cephalopods have never been displayed in the United States before. To make it happen, our aquarists figured out how to rear these little ready-for-bedtime-squid from eggs to hatchlings and finally to adults able to lay viable eggs.

Luckily the Tentacles team has a lot ofexperience raising cephalopods. According to aquarist Bret Grasse, they were able to unlock the mysteries of the pyjama squid lifecycle with “the right combination of genders and some positive vibes. We also provided a comfortable habitat and good egg-laying medium for them to deposit eggs on.”

Look closely at the pyjama squid’s stripes and you’ll see that they’re actually made up of tiny dots. These are chromatophores, color organs made of nerves and muscles and tiny sacs of pigment that change an animal’s coloring when they expand or contract. Our aquarists have seen pyjama squid flashing their stripes when threatened or when they’re trying to repel fellow pyjama squid from going after a tasty shrimp during feeding time. “They try to look menacing by making dark stripes on their mantle, but this only makes them look cuter in my opinion,” notes Bret.

Native to waters around Australia, pyjama squid can grow to about two inches long. They like to burrow in the sand with only their eyes peeking out to spot potential predators and prey. Nestled in the substrate with their jammie stripes, they enjoy an all-day bedtime and emerge at night to hunt.

You can spot the striped pyjama squid in our Tentacles exhibition! Look for these banded cuties across the way from the nautilus exhibit.


These tentacular Octopus and Giant Squid tables are the work of San Francisco-based bronze sculptor Kirk McGuire. The beautiful bronze cephalopods are so lifelike, we wouldn’t be surprised if you felt phantom tentacles tickling your ankles while sitting at either of these tables.

Visit Kirk McGuire’s website to check out his standalone bronze sculptures and more of his awesome undersea animal tables.

[via Neatorama]


This ghostlike octopod is almost certainly an undescribed species and may not belong to any described genus.  This species is particularly unusual because it lacks the pigment cells, called chromatophores, typical of most cephalopods, and it did not seem very muscular. It was found at 4,290 meters northeast of Necker Island (Mokumanamana) in the Hawaiian Archipelago


Nothing says “Our love will last forever.” like a tiny gold squid encircling your ring finger. This tentacular little beauty was handmade by Portland, OR-based jeweler Cheyenne Weil of gin & butterflies. She custom-makes each Squid Wedding Band by hand-carving the ring in wax and then casting it using the lost-wax method.

“This ring is a highly detailed piece with the squid and water/wave design flowing all the way around the ring, leaving no particular part "up.” It is a nice 8mm in width, over 2mm thick, and has a delicious weighty feel.“

Click here for more information and then check out the rest of Cheyenne’s gin & butterflies shop.

[via Fashionably Geek]


Last year we shared a tentacularly awesome Octopus Hairpiece created by Australian artist Kirstie Williams (deviantARTist Deeed). Williams received such an enthusiastic response to her creation that she began taking custom orders and has since opened an Etsy shop called CuriousCephalopods where she sells custom Octopus Fascinators with luxurious ringlet tentacles that use a wig clip to securely attach to either a wig or your own hair.

CuriousCephalopods has just a couple color options in stock at the moment, but don’t fret. Williams reports that she’s got all sorts of materials on order and will soon be making more Octopus Facinators in a variety of colors. She’ll be taking specific color commissions as well.

For now you can check out previous versions Williams has made over at her DeviantArt gallery.

[via io9]


Chambered nautilus: the ocean’s jet-propelled diver

To avoid predators by day, nautilus linger along deep reef slopes as deep as 2,000 feet. At night, they migrate to shallower waters and cruise the reefs, trailing their tentacles in search of food. 

Its simple eyes can only sense dark and light, but the nautilus uses more than 90 tentacles—the most of any cephalopod—to touch and taste the world. A nautilus’s tentacles, unlike those of other cephalopods, have grooves and ridges that grip food and pass it to the nautilus’s mouth. A parrotlike beak rips the food apart, and a radula further shreds the food.

Watch a chambered nautilus bob and drift

Learn more about this living link to the past