Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium staff bustle around a room in the Marine Mammal Center Thursday.
The sounds of drills, bubbling saltwater tanks and frog croaks echo through the space that will house "Survivors: Beautiful and Extreme Adaptations" from Feb. 1, through Sept. 14. Aquarists are making final preparations for the third special exhibit Mote has hosted.
The exhibit will feature the peacock mantis shrimp, which packs a “punch” with its appendages that’s as powerful as a .22-caliber bullet; the blue-ringed octopus, which has some of the strongest venom on Earth; the Vietnamese mossy frog, which is a master of camouflage; and many other survivors.
Visitors will learn about what it takes to for a marine animal or amphibian to survive in today's world.
"I like the sea apple," said Dan Bebak, vice president of Mote's aquarium. "I think they're really cool, really beautiful and very unusual animals."
The red and purple invertebrate uses its coloration, and the ability to expel its internal organs (which later regenerate) to escape predators.
"It's been a lot of fun," Bebak said of preparing the special exhibit.