Deceptive New Birch Aquarium Exhibit Explores Camouflage in the Sea


Scripps Institution of Oceanography / University of California, San Diego

Be tricked, fooled and duped this spring when you visit the Birch Aquarium at Scripps, the exploration center for Institution of Oceanography. On Saturday, May 28, the aquarium unveils The Art of Deception, a new exhibit highlighting marine creatures that use creative camouflage for survival.

Enter the underwater world of these masters of disguise and witness their ingenious disappearing acts! Cellophane-like jellies are nearly transparent, octopuses vanish into the rocky reefs that surround them and frogfish look like neither frogs nor fish but like coral. These are just a few of the strategies certain marine creatures use to hide in plain sight and blend with their environments.

In the wild, the art of camouflage works for both sides in the battle for survival. Prey animals use it to avoid being made into another creature's dinner, and predators use it as a hunting technique-concealing themselves from their prey until it's too late.

Aquarium visitors will have the opportunity to explore four distinct ocean habitats-the rocky reef, the sandy ocean bottom, the kelp forest and the open ocean. Guests also can see veiled chameleons from Saudi Arabiaand White's tree frogs, native only to Australia and New Guinea. Be sure to sneak a peak at these animals, as they are not on display anywhere else in San Diego. Also, the Birch Aquarium will display tree frogs and chameleons for the first time as part of this exhibit.

Children of all ages will learn all about camouflage in the ocean through costume play areas, distorting fun-house mirrors and more.

An underwater camera and videoscopes (microscopes that display the contents on a television monitor) will take visitors below the waterline of aquarium tanks to observe marine life up-close.

The Art of Deception is included with paid aquarium admission. The Birch Aquarium at Scripps is located at 2300 Expedition Way and is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm. For more information on the Birch Aquarium and The Art of Deception, visit or call 858/534-FISH.

This exhibit will disappear in two years-come see it while you can!

Sign Up For
Explorations Now

explorations now is the free award-winning digital science magazine from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Join subscribers from around the world and keep up on our cutting-edge research.