The National Shell Museum welcomes a new giant Pacific octopus

COURTESY PHOTO

In early June, the giant Pacific octopus at the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum began the natural process of senescence, or end of life. It has started to refuse food and has released spermatophores, a sign of a reproductive phase after which the animal declines over a period of weeks or even days, and its death is imminent.

While in the museum’s care, the giant Pacific octopus inspired and educated over 100,000 visitors to the museum and over 33,000 viewers online. The response from the island community and anyone who has seen it in person, as well as the online community who has seen it on social media or at ShellMuseum.org/octocam, has been overwhelmingly positive. He was loved and will be missed.

On June 29, the museum welcomed a new giant Pacific octopus that is adapting very well to its new home. Carly Hulse, senior aquarist at the National Shell Museum, has already started to bond with him.

“After the first two enrichment sessions (stimulation to encourage natural behaviors), Carly has already established a strong bond with the new octopus, which is now active and responsive to her actions,” said Dr. José H. Leal, National Shell. Scientific director and curator of the museum.

The museum looks forward to showcasing the new giant Pacific octopus at the aquarist-led Keepers Talks, held daily at the museum at 11 a.m. For more information, see ShellMuseum.org.

About the Museum: The Bailey Matthews National Shell Museum is a natural history museum and the only accredited museum in the United States that focuses primarily on shells and molluscs. Its mission is to use exceptional collections, aquariums, programs, experiences, and science to be the nation’s leading museum in the conservation, preservation, interpretation, and celebration of seashells, the molluscs that create them, and of their ecosystems. Permanent exhibits on view include the Great Seashell Hall which showcases highlights from the museum’s collection of some 550,000 seashells, as well as the living gallery of aquariums Beyond Shells and more than 50 species of sea life. For more information, see ShellMuseum.org or call 239-395-2233. ¦

About Carlos V. Mitchell

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