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 of experience 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.