5 Weirdest Sea Creatures You’ll See at the Birch Aquarium
No need to travel to the bottom of the ocean: In just a few minutes’ drive, you can have a close encounter with some of the weirdest sea creatures at La Jolla’s Birch Aquarium. From killer shrimp (totally real!) to walking “fish” these unique underwater creatures will mesmerize young and old. Bonus: this trip makes for a great family-friendly activity.
Giant Pacific Octopus: Enteroctopus
Giant Pacific octopuses (top image) is a great contender for the largest octopus species weighing up to 157 pounds and measuring 11 feet long! These intimidating creatures are a deep ruby color, as you can tell from the Birch Aquarium’s female Giant Pacific octopus. Many of the suckers on her tentacles are actually lined with small hooks or
Leafy Seadragon: Phycodurus Eques
The mysterious Leafy Seadragon was named after its leaf-like shape and resemblance to the mythical Chinese dragon. A close relative to Sea Horses, Sea Dragons are much larger with leaf-like appendages and when fully grown they can measure up to 18 inches. Their leaf-like appearance enables them to camouflage quite well into floating seaweed. These sea creatures are fascinating to watch as their body hardly moves. Their movement comes from translucent fins found on the sides of their heads and dorsal fins. It’s almost as though an invisible force is helping them move, causing them to glide in slow and grace-like patterns. [source: yankalilla.com]
Image: Roy L. Caldwell
Killer Shrimp: Dikerogammarus Villosus
“Killer Shrimp from the Sea” sounds like a sci-fi thriller, but in the case of the mantis shrimp, truth is stranger than fiction! This weird marine animal has several species that fall into two categories: spearers and smashers. Spearers skewer their prey with jagged spear-like claws and eat them. Smashers punch prey with club-like claws, but this isn’t just any punch. Smasher punches are so fast that vacuums of air are formed in the water as the punch travels to the prey. These vacuums then collapse, creating a shock that is so intense that it actually produces light and heat! Mantis shrimp are very colorful and have a shimmering psychedelic appearance that is made even weirder by their two eyes that have three pupils each.
Loggerhead Sea Turtle: Caretta caretta
Loggerhead sea turtles are the largest hard-shelled turtles in the world and have been spotted off the shores of La Jolla! Sadly, loggerhead turtles (pictured above) are becoming more and
Flamboyant Cuttlefish: Metasepia
The flamboyant cuttlefish, named for its bright pink, red, and yellow colors, is a poisonous variety of cuttlefish. Their toxic nature is not only conveyed through their bright
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