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Trips to the Visitor Center will be a little different than before lockdown. For the time being, we require visitors to make a reservation which is good for an hour-long visit. Up to 60 guests per hour will be allowed in the Center.
Pumpkins are popping up all over the Visitor Center. This little lumpsucker is checking out the new pumpkin décor in its tank. Come visit us and see how many you can find. Special thanks to volunteers Barbara, Fran, Rebecca, and Lee for carving pumpkins!
Visitor Feedback: "Thank you for the amazing training that your volunteer Jeff provided! We were VERY prepared for tide pool viewing at Coquille Point. We read the tide charts and got amazing views. This place is an exceptional value at only $3 per person!"
We are delighted to report that a giant Pacific octopus is on exhibit!
When you visit, you might notice a variety of toys in the octopus tank. Our aquatic animal husbandry staff use toys, as well as routine interaction, with these animals to keep them engaged and active. Octopuses are extremely intelligent and inquisitive creatures who need social time to stay healthy and happy. If you are curious about these eight-armed wonders, check out this frequently asked questions page. You can also check out the octopus online via the OctoCam. Below is a video of a resident octopus playing with its toys.
So what exactly is a nudibranch?
Nudibranchs are in all the oceans of the world. Currently, there are about 3,000 types of species.
Nudibranchs are a group of soft-bodied, shell-less mollusks and members of the sea slug family. Crazy fact, they are born with shells but shed them after their larval stage. Ouch! Nudibranchs are renowned for their striking colors, patterns (like leopard spots) and unique shapes. Species range in size from as small as .25 inches or as large as a foot long.
Nudibranchs have few natural predators. Their bright colors warn predators away and many nudibranchs defend themselves by excreting poisons. They also don't produce toxins. Instead, they recycle the toxins from the prey they eat.
This little horned wonder is named for the leopard-like spots across its back. The number and color of the spots vary, and their body color can be pale grey, brown or even yellow. They are relatively small in size, only getting about 7.5 cm long. While they may look squishy, they are surprisingly solid to the touch.
Where are they found?
Spotted leopard nudibranchs live in intertidal areas all along the west coast of North America, from Baja California to the Aleutian Islands to the Sea of Japan. So, keep your eyes peeled next time you go tide pooling.
Why do they have horns on their head?
The horns are called rhinophores, and much like our noses, they help nudibranchs pick up smells in their environment. Look closely, and you'll also see feathery external gills on its back. The design of these gills maximizes the gills' surface area to extract oxygen from the water.
How do they eat? I don’t see a mouth!
The mouth on this type of nudibranch is on the underside of its head. It eats with the help of its radula; a type of tongue that is covered in rows of tiny teeth that shred prey into small pieces for eating. It likes to graze on sea sponges. All nudibranchs are carnivorous.