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Giant Pacific octopus

Surviving Through Adaptation

In this multi-exhibit gallery, diverse animals demonstrate how adaptations help them survive. A giant Pacific octopus changes color, groupers lurk, and electric eels generate electricity.

Animals in This Exhibit

  • Atlantic Creole Fish

    This fish can be any color from gray to a very bright red. It inhabits coral reefs and hard bottoms, preferring the shallow water but is found as deep as 165 feet.

    Creole Fish
  • Banggai Cardinalfish

    This small, disc-shaped fish is easily recognized by its tasseled first dorsal fin; long, tapering second dorsal fin; and deeply forked tail, or caudal fin.

    Banggai cardinalfish
  • Black Grouper

    Black grouper are typically dark in color and have several sets of teeth. All black grouper are born female.

    Black Grouper
  • Electric Eel

    Electrophorus electricus—everything about this eel’s scientific name says high voltage! Of the fishes able to generate an electrical discharge, electric eels are by far the champions, producing up to 600 volts!

    National Aquarium – Electric Eel
  • Fairy Basslets

    Fairy Basslets are small, vibrantly colored fish and are coral reef inhabitants.

    Fairy Basslet
  • Giant Pacific Octopus

    These masters of camouflage can quickly change the color and texture of their skin to match the background.

    Giant Pacific octopus
  • Graysby

    Graysbys are solitary and secretive, often hiding during the day.

  • Longhorn Cowfish

    This charismatic fish is a member of the boxfish family, and is easily recognizable by its long horns that protrude from the front of its head.

    Longhorn Cowfish
  • Longnose Gar

    The longnose gar is an elongated fish with a long, thin snout full of needle-like teeth perfectly suited for catching prey. Longnose gar are distinguished from other gar species by the long snout, with a length at least 10 times the width.

    Longnose Gar
  • Longsnout Seahorse

    The longsnout seahorse has a yellow body, with flecks of brown and black.

    Longsnout Seahorse
  • Peacock Mantis Shrimp

    This ferocious crustacean has club-like appendages that fold under its body, similar to a praying mantis.

    Mantis Shrimp
  • Spotfin Butterflyfish

    The black bar across this fish’s eye confuses predators.

    National Aquarium - Spotfin butterflyfish

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