Aquarium of the Bay counts heads, and tails

Christina Slager

The Director of Husbandry at the Aquarium of the Bay recently completed an annual census of the aquarium’s animals.

What is the purpose of the annual census? We measure the entire collection as a management tool so we can tell how well our animals are doing.

Did the census show anything new this year? This was a particularly exciting year because we added a lot of new animals, including amphibians, reptiles, mammals and insects. Our collection is increasing because we want to show people the incredible diversity of life in the San Francisco Bay Area.</p>

What is one of your favorite new animals? The Pacific spiny lumpsucker, which is an incredibly attractive, tiny little fish that looks like an animated pingpong ball. It’s an attractive beige color with pink overtones.

Were there any breeding successes? We’ve had lots of breeding success, and the most notable was the Pacific angel shark. As far as I know, we’re the only place where they have given birth in captivity and we have seven pups right now from one breeding pair.

Have any animals been particularly prolific breeders?

A red octopus just gave birth to about 1,000 babies that are approximately the size of a pinhead. The female lays eggs and then guards them and to make sure there’s water flowing over them, sometimes she waves her arms over them, and then they hatch.

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