Mote Aquarium

Aquariums Come Together To Release Sea Turtle Hatchlings

Over 40 tiny bundles of joy were released into the ocean following rehab at two southwest Florida aquariums

Over the past week, Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium took over 40 sea turtle hatchlings offshore to be released following rehabilitation. Mote’s Hatchling Hospital successfully rehabilitated 33 hatchlings, many of which were recovered from pools after they became disoriented. Mote’s team made an additional offshore trip this week to release 10 additional hatchlings that recovered at Clearwater Marine Aquarium’s marine life hospital. These hatchlings suffered from a variety of impairments including disorientation and malnutrition.   

Since sea turtle season began officially in May—although the first nest arrived in Sarasota in April—nearly 800 sea turtle hatchlings have been successfully rehabilitated at Mote’s Hatchling Hospital and over 150 at Clearwater Marine Aquarium. These hatchlings might be recovered during permitted nest excavations or perhaps found after a nest predation event. However, by far the most common reason that a hatchling finds itself in need of TLC is due to disorientation, which occurs when hatchlings emerge from the nest and travel towards artificial lighting instead of the water. Sea turtle hatchlings have a limited energy supply—they emerge from their egg with a yolk sac that nourishes them for a short period of time—and wasting energy going the wrong direction can be deadly. 

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Tiny Octopi Hatch at Mote Aquarium

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Check out these tiny Ocotopus hatchlings at Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium in Florida!

Octopi reproduction is really quite interesting. Males have a specially adapted arm, called a hectocotylus, which they use to transfer sperm packets called spermatorphores into to a female's mantle cavity. Octopi lead short, solitary lives of one to two years; the pair do not remain together, and males die within a few months of mating.

2 octopus.jpgPhoto credit: Mote Marine Lab & Aquarium

A female can store the sperm in her mantle until she is ready to fertilize and lay her eggs. A female may lay hundreds of thousands of eggs, which she anchors to a hard surface in a protected den.

After eggs are laid, she devotes the rest of her life to caring for them. She will guard the eggs and keep water circulating around them so that the developing offspring receive enough oxygen. The mother stops eating after her eggs are laid, and she will die soon after they hatch. 

Newly-hatched octopi are called larvae, and will develop into hatchlings or fry. The newborn octopi, though tiny, are independant and require no more maternal care. Survival in the ocean is often a matter of luck, and very few of these offpspring will survive to adulthood— which is why so many eggs are laid to begin with.