Sea Creatures in your Neighborhood – Mother’s Day Edition

May 11th, 2020

Who’s up for a little marine-inspired scavenger hunt? Get ready for NJSGC’s “Sea Creatures in your Neighborhood” campaign! Here’s the plan. 

  1. Draw and color a picture of NJSGC’s “animal of the week” (more information below).
  2. Include a “fun fact” about this creature.
  3. Hang your masterpiece in a front window, door, or yard. Snap a photo to post on social media with the hashtags #SeaCreaturesInYourNeighborhood, #NJSGC, and #SeaGrantSTEM. Be sure to include the name of your city or town Feel free to send photos directly to NJSGC by contacting our Communications Specialist.
  4. On your next ride or walk around the neighborhood (while respecting the rules of social distancing), take pictures of any #SeaCreaturesInYourNeighborhood you notice. Or search and discover more virtually.
  5. Encourage friends and family to do the same and be sure to share your findings with us! 
  6. Stay tuned for next week’s ”animal of the week” and repeat. Stay safe and have fun while learning about our favorite sea creatures found along the Jersey Shore!
  7. NJSGC will “spotlight” all submissions throughout Spring 2020.

The Common Atlantic Octopus (Octopus vulgaris) – please use this template for guidance.

“In honor of Mother’s Day this past weekend, we would like to pay tribute to one of the most dedicated moms in the ocean, the octopus!  The Common Atlantic Octopus can be found living in crevices and muddy bottoms of NJ’s coastal waters.  This member of the Mollusk family has greyish-yellow or brownish-green smooth skin that can change with its surroundings, which helps it maintain its private lifestyle.  Like all octopuses, it has 8 arm-like tentacles with suckers to capture its prey. When a female is ready to lay her eggs, she will find a hiding spot such as a hole or other hollow area that can be sealed off with rocks, shells, or debris.  Inside she will lay thousands of eggs (up to 500,000!) and stitch them together in long braids that she will then attach to the walls of the den.  In the 4-5 months that it takes for the eggs to hatch, the mother octopus  never leaves the nest to feed.  Instead, she will vigilantly care for her young by carefully blowing water with her siphon over the eggs to keep them clean and oxygenated and protecting them from predators.  After her young have hatched and she has shuttled them out of their nest, she will finally venture out in a weakened state and give the ultimate gift – her life.”

Watch this cool video excerpt from PBS’ “Nature” show entitled Octopus: Making Contact where a teenager befriends this unique creature!

Did you know…

– Considered the smartest of all invertebrates thanks to their large brains, octopuses can recognize people and explore objects through play – even opening jars and locked boxes!
– Octopuses use their tentacles not only for touching but for tasting, too!
– The Common Atlantic Octopus can grow up to 3 feet and live for 2-3 years.
– As a mollusk, octopuses are related to clams and oysters, but they have no external or internal shell.

Please visit NJSGC’s educational resources webpage for more information on this “social distancing” scavenger hunt campaign.