Hold on to your hearts, sea otter fans; Selka, our new resident sea otter has arrived! Clever, with an easy-going and inquisitive nature, Selka is our youngest otter and also has the darkest fur of any of the otters on exhibit. She may go on and off exhibit as she settles into her new home.
Did you know? Pacific bluefin tuna can grow to 10 feet long and weigh up to 1,200 pounds! The tuna in our Open Sea exhibit aren't quite that big, but they still give visitors a sense of how majestic these ocean giants are. Bluefin tuna are some of the largest and fastest fish in the ocean. They're also severely overfished throughout the world. To help these animals recover, avoid eating bluefin tuna.
Orange is the new black! Our youngest giant sea bass just tipped its scales from black to gold. A little squirt with quite the growth spurt, this tiny titan has more than quadrupled in length since November 2015—but it's still just a fraction of the 500-pound, seven-and-a-half-foot leviathan these fish can grow into! Spot this fish yourself on the second floor near the Kelp Forest exhibit.
Is this a visitor from another planet? Very few aquariums in the world are displaying bigfin reef squid, which we first exhibited in 2012. Like many cephalopods, these squid use pigmented skin cells, called chromatophores, to change color and pattern. Specific patterns and colors are used by males and females during mating to attract one another. See bigfin reef squid and other sensational cephalopods in our Tentacles special exhibition.
This shorebird sure looks good! If you need some summer style inspiration, turn to our Aviary exhibit. Our elegant American avocet is in its summer finery of cinnamon-apricot neck and head plumage. You can see this large wading bird strut its stuff, as well as a variety of other fine feathered friends in the Aviary.
Why the long face? The broad shape of the hammerhead shark's head is thought to have evolved to give an enhanced field of view all around the shark's body. It also enables its sensing organs, called ampullae of Lorenzini, to find prey buried in the sand. It may also give the hammerhead added lift and help it make sharper turns than other sharks. Check out this skillful shark in our Open Sea.
Don't (or maybe do) lookdown! The lovely lookdown befuddles predators with the help of scales that reflect polarized light and help the fish blend into the background. Lookdowns also swim together in schools, making it hard for bigger fish to pick out a single lookdown to chomp on. You can see this picturesque defense mechanism in action in our newest special exhibition, ¡Viva Baja! Life on the Edge.
No rest for the best nest! Pelagic cormorants are hard at work building their nests just off the back deck of the Aquarium. Using bits of algae and sea grass for bricks, the cormorants employ their own guano as a mortar to fasten their love nests to the cliffs—or in this case, the recesses of the Aquarium's building. You can see these nesting birds from our Wildlife Viewing Station and all around the back deck, right next to our greatest exhibit: the Monterey Bay itself!
Let's shellebrate World Turtle Day! Just outside the Splash Zone exhibit in our Coastal Stream you'll find the beautiful Western pond turtle. These shy turtles live in ponds, lakes, streams and wetlands and can be found in Washington, Oregon, California and Baja California. While they can live to be 50 years old, these turtles are considered a vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).