Behold the Flapjack Octopus!
Does this octopus look familiar? The “flapjack octopus” is a rarely observed, deep-sea species, but you may know it better as the inspiration for the animated character Pearl in Finding Nemo. It was collected by our sister organization, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, and it’s on exhibit now in our Tentacles special exhibition, which opened this morning for members, and tomorrow (April 12) for the general public!
These images show the flapjack octopus (Opisthoteuthis sp.) in the wild, and in on exhibit. We use a red light to display this species. Since the octopus can’t see red light, it thinks it’s in the darkness of the deep sea, its natural environment.
Very little is known about the life history of these animals. They’re one of the cirrate octopuses – a tiny group within the overall family. We may yet discover more species in this group—with the help of MBARI. They’re helping us learn about many deep-sea species, through video observation and occasionally collecting individuals. One of the flapjack octopuses even laid eggs in our behind-the-scenes holding area. That first batch didn’t mature, but we’ll try again if any other individuals reproduce.
Learn more about the exhibit