One would think that researchers at the University would know their stuff, but there are times when even they can be stopped. This became evident when a common octopus was acquired by the University of Georgia’s Marine Education Center and Aquarium. They thought that they were getting a male octopus and even named it Octavius. It seemed as if he was curious about the world around him, including what was on the other side of the glass.
One day, Octavius disappeared from sight and hid out for the majority of the day. That is when Devin Dumont, the aquarium curator discovered that there were thousands of very tiny particles floating in the aquarium.
He said: “I noticed this cloud of moving dots and I realized, ‘Oh my God, she had babies. There are babies. There are babies everywhere,” according to Savannah Now. He then said that there was somewhat of a panic, as he began scooping them out of the tank to be cared for by aquarium staff. He also realized came to the sad realization that Octavius had almost run her course.
It is not out of the question for experts to make this mistake. Both male and female octopi look very similar to each other. There are some physical differences, including what is found on the 3rd right arms. It is thought that Octavius may have been pregnant when she came to the aquarium but she didn’t lay her eggs until she gained a level of comfort. Since octopi are able to store semen for weeks after they mate, it wasn’t a problem to wait until the conditions were just right.
Unfortunately, female octopi do not live long after they have laid their eggs. They guard their clutch and spend the majority of their time doing so, not even eating in the process. Male octopi die shortly after mating, so things are not much better for them.
Although it is sad that Octavius will soon die, her babies will continue to live on in captivity and in nature. Some of her babies were released into the Skidaway River and others will be in nursery tanks, then raised in the Shellfish Research Lab. Eventually, they will grow up into adult octopi and have the same fate as their parents.
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