N. Oregon Coast Facility Gives Birth to Thousands of Freaky Critters
(Seaside, Oregon) – It's the trifecta of funky finds on the north Oregon coast, as the Seaside Aquarium is giving birth to literally thousands of new creatures. (Photos courtesy Seaside Aquarium. Above: a newly-hatched baby Opalescent squid. Remember the aliens from Independence Day?)
A fisherman recently found a few clusters of squid eggs, and these are now hatching at the aquarium. A little, tiny baby octopus was also among the finds, and the aquarium's full grown octopus is now in the middle of laying thousands of eggs herself.
Seaside Aquarium manager Keith Chandler said the squid eggs come from an Opalescent Squid, which move into local bays and coves along the Oregon coast during summer and start laying eggs. They then die.
A local fisherman found this cluster in his crab pots. The female lays about a dozen of these cigar-shaped, and each contains about 180 to 300 eggs. These have started to hatch already.
“I'd say scores of them,” Chandler said. “Scores have started to hatch. There's a few thousand eggs.”
Another critter that fisherman found was a baby octopus, which is about the size of a quarter. Photos of it show it looking a bit like a freaky alien. It's still so young aquarium staff aren't sure what kind it is.
“It could be a red octopus, or it could be a Giant Pacific Octopus,” Chandler said. “It'll be a couple weeks before we can tell for sure. But I think it's a red octopus.”
Above: the new baby octopus.
The aquarium acquired a full-grown red octopus about a month ago, part of its regular display for its octopus tank. That eight-legged beastie recently started giving birth as well – thousands of eggs.
“If everything goes well, in six weeks we will have thousands of baby octopuses,” said Tiffany Boothe, education specialist at the aquarium. “The octopus and her eggs are on display for the public to see.”
The hatching squid and the unidentified baby octopus are currently in the same tank and on display as well.
At one point, aquarium staff will gather up most of these thousands of squid and octopuses and set them free into the ocean environment.
Another interesting factoid about the baby squids: the eggs do not have any odor, thus masking them from potential predators in the wild.
Chandler said this currently-birthing octopus does not have a name.
“We name our seals, but not the fish,” he said. “They don't really have names. Their lives are extremely short."
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