In this part of the exhibit you will find the octopus, one of the most interesting cephalopod because its complex behavior and extraordinary ability in camouflage.
One of the most spectacular tanks of Acquario di Cala Gonone has the scenic design made of dark rocks which reproduces Sardinian typical columnar basalt. A landside, on the bottom of the tank, creates artificial burrows for congers and morays, while lateral rocks offer a privileged position for scorpion fishes.
In the rock coast there are some of the most emblematic creatures of Mediterranean sea: the lobster, Mediterranean slipper lobster and Paromola cuvieri.
Octopus Octopus vulgaris
This species is commonly found in oceans and seas around the world. It has an amazing ability to camouflage itself and possesses an innate curiosity. The octopus uses a unique system of camouflage, in fact, it chooses a specific object rather than the entire habitat that surrounds it to disguise itself. It is also capable of camouflaging the texture of its skin!
While swimming, one of the octopus’s three hearts stops beating. For this reason, octopus prefer to glide on the sea bottom rather than swimming thus avoiding a great strain. Octopus use their ink to distract their predators. Furthermore, Octopus ink can also be harmful for its predators as it contains a corrosive enzyme (tyrosinase).
Mediterranean moray Murena helena
The Mediterranean moray is a species found in the Mediterranean Sea and in the eastern Atlantic Ocean. It is characterized by a long eel-like body and a median fin that joins with the dorsal fin, caudal and anal fin. It has small eyes, and its cranium has a pointed snout with tubular nostrils. The moray’s large mouth contains many rows of small pointed and curved teeth. Its background colour is brown with many yellow irregular patches. A moray lives a sedentary life and prefers cavities of rocks. It is a night predator, with a highly sensible sense of smell. The blood of a moray contains several toxins that can cause haemolysis, but only if it comes in direct contact with human blood. However, the meat of moray is harmless if eaten.
Lobster Palinurus elephas
Lobster are very common in the Mediterranean Sea although it is becoming more difficult to find larger specimens due to over-fishing. A lobster can grow to weigh as much as 8 kilograms and lives on rocky bottoms in depths between 15 and 300 metres. Like all crustaceans, Lobsters must also face the delicate process of moulting during the course of their lives. Shedding occurs as much as 10 times during the first year of life and subsequently only once a year. The lobster uses its long antennae to defend itself from predators. As well, the antennae are excellent olfactory organs.