Bigfin reef squid

Journey to a world of undersea magicians, masters of disguise and quick-change artists. Our special exhibition is the largest, most diverse living exhibit ever created to showcase these amazing animals. You won't believe your eyes.

In this Exhibit

Bigfin reef squid

Sepioteuthis lessoniana

While other squid are lone rangers, when bigfin reef squid encounter predators they school together into one long line to appear larger.

Range: Indo-Pacific

Flamboyant cuttlefish

Metasepia pfefferi

The flamboyant cuttlefish lumbers along the seafloor on its arms and skin flaps, flashing hypnotic colors.

Range: Papua New Guinea and the Philippines to northern Australia
Stumpy cuttlefish

Stumpy cuttlefish

Sepia bandensis

This tiny hunter forages for food along the seafloor. It camouflages itself in sand, coral or algae, then ambushes unsuspecting prey.

Range: Malaysia to the Philippines

Day octopus

Octopus cyanea

While most octopuses hunt at night, this predator spends the day stalking large crabs, clams and fishes.

Range: Indo-Pacific, Hawaii
Flapjack octopus

Flapjack octopus

Opisthoteuthis sp.

Very little is known about this rarely observed deep-sea octopus. It was collected by our sister organization, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.

Red octopus

Red octopus

Octopus rubescens

The red octopus uses its razor-sharp beak to crush small crabs and shrimp. Then it injects its prey with toxic saliva and devours its meal.  

Range: central Alaska to northern Mexico
Wunderpus octopus


Wunderpus photogenicus

This master of disguise changes its color, shape and movements to look like other sea animals.

Range: Indo-Malayan Archipelago

Giant Pacific octopus

Enteroctopus dofleini

This large octopus hatches from an egg the size of a grain of rice. On day one, its eight little arms already have about 14 tiny suckers each.

Range: Japan to Alaska to Baja California

Chambered nautilus

Nautilus sp.

This animal swims using jet propulsion—it expels water from its mantle cavity through a siphon near its head.

Range: Indo-Pacific
Pygmy squid

Northern pygmy squid

Idiosepius paradoxus

To rest, hide or ambush prey, this animal sticks itself to sea grasses and seaweeds, thanks to a special glue-gland on its back.

Range: western Pacific Ocean

Common cuttlefish

Sepia officinalis

Cuttlefish are armed to hunt. When a shrimp or fish is in range, the cuttlefish aims—and shoots out its two tentacles to seize prey.

Range: eastern Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea

What are Cephalopods?

Octopuses, squid, cuttlefishes and nautiluses are marine molluscs, related to snails and slugs. They’re found in all the world’s oceans and at all depths. They can be colorful or transparent and range in size from less than an inch to more than 50 feet. More than 800 species of cephalopods have been identified. These animals share a similar body plan that includes a head and eyes, a mantle and siphon, arms and tentacles, a beak and a file-like radula.

only have arms
(eight of them)
only have tentacles
(up to 100 of them!)
have eight arms + two retractable tentacles
have eight arms + two retractable tentacles


Related to Tentacles