SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - On Halloween, you'll not only find spooky creatures in your neighborhood, but you'll also find them lurking beneath the surface at the haunted Birch Aquarium.
What lurks in the deep? You never know on Halloween. Creatures from the haunted sea have nothing on the exhibits at Birch Aquarium at Scripps. It's that time of year when all things fishy come out from the depths of the ocean.
Weedy sea dragons are masters of disguise. They'd do well in a haunted house. All kidding aside, breeding is serious business at Birch Aquarium. Executive Director Nigella Hillgarth delivered the baby news in an oarfish costume not to ghoul around, but to relate to visitors on this festive occasion.
"For the first time ever, we have bred weedy sea dragons at Birch Aquarium. Male has babies on his tale, seven little have hatched, grow into the adults we have on display," Hillgarth said.
The male Nigella refers to was on of 10 weedy seadragons donated to Birch Aquarium by Monterey Bay Aquarium. It will be almost a year before these itty bitty babies are full grown. Until then, you can watch adults bobbing around in their seadragon exhibit.
"The seadragon program is actually a part of a larger program for Scripps Institution of Oceanography with Dr. Greg Rouse, so this combined study will hopefully tell us more about these animals in the wild," Hillgarth said.
Only five other aquariums in the United States have successfully bred weedy seadragons in captivity. Birch Aquarium is working toward a sustained breeding program for the weedy seadragon, which Hillgarth says will help support the aquarium's education efforts as well as limit the number of seadragons taken from the wild.