When it's summer, get ready for chondrichthyes! CREATURE FEATURE: brown smooth-hound

During the spring and summer seasons, we see an increase of cartilaginous fish populations in the SF Bay. This week's creature is the brown smooth-hound The brown smooth-hound (Mustelus henlei ) is a common, abundant cartilaginous fish we find in the San Francisco Bay. Brown smooth-hounds are viviparous species, meaning embryos are nourished through a yolk-sac placenta while developing inside the mother shark's body. At Marine Science Institute, we witness lots of incredible animal activity and phenomena, including... shark pup births! (pictured right) Brown smooth-hound litter counts can range between 1-21 pups, but the average is 3-5 pups per litter. These young sharks measure between 7.5

When it's summer, get ready for chondrichthyes! CREATURE FEATURE: broadnose sevengill shark

During the spring and summer seasons, we see an increase of cartilaginous fish populations in the SF Bay. This week, it's the broadnose sevengill shark At Marine Science Institute, we're always excited when we get to see the broadnose sevengill shark (Notorynchus cepedianus). Sevengills are wide ranging and appear in mostly temperate coastal seas worldwide, including the San Francisco Bay. The most distinguishing feature of this shark is the seven pairs of gill slits, making them easy to identify as most sharks only have five pairs of gill slits. These sharks are born at a length between 15-17 inches and can grow up to 10 feet! Researchers have counted large eggs in ovaries of mature female

Science in Pajamas: Swimming Squid

Squid, which are similar to the octopus, have eight arms and two tentacles. The arms, called cephalopod limbs, resemble those on an octopus with suckers along their length. The two extra tentacles have suckers only their ends, and are meant to capture food such as fish and crabs. Its powerful muscles contract to force out jets of water that propel it in the opposite direction that they’re facing - so it swims backward in a zigzag formation. As a strategy to avoid predators, it can shoot out an inky fluid made from melanin particles called sepia that creates a dark cloud, allowing it to create a diversion and flee to safety. See the quick movements of a squid for yourself with a homemade crea

Science In Pajamas: Paper Plate Octopus

Octopuses are believed to be highly intelligent compared to other invertebrates, with five hundred million neurons in their brains. These cephalopods are known for their rounded bodies, bulging eyes and eight long arms. They are found in all oceans, but are abundant in warm, tropical waters. There are almost 300 different species, with the abilities to camouflage with their surroundings and produce ink to confuse predators from catching them. This fun craft is great for kids to create their own octopuses, made by Andreja Vucajnk. Check out the links at the bottom for more information about octopuses. Supplies Paper plate (plain white one or per-colored one) Orange color paint Orange sheet of

When it's summer, get ready for chondrichthyes! CREATURE FEATURE: leopard shark

During the spring and summer seasons, we see an increase of cartilaginous fish populations in the SF Bay. This week's creature is the leopard shark Marine Science Institute's mascot and the most common shark found in the San Francisco Bay area is the leopard shark (Triakis semifasciata). At typical maximum length, males reach up to 5 feet and females up to 6 feet, but these docile sharks have been recorded up to 7 feet in length. Leopard sharks are ovoviviparous---the process in which embryos develop inside eggs that hatch internally, thus, giving birth to live young. Shark pups feed on the egg's yolk sack during gestation, a period that lasts for 10-12 months. One litter could contain as f

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