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Virginia aquarium captures video of octopus being born

By Karen Graham     Feb 10, 2018 in Internet
Virginia Beach - A remarkable video showing the birth of a Caribbean reef octopus at the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center has been viewed more than 1 million times on social media.
The video, posted to the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center's Facebook page has now been seen by nearly two million people since being posted Tuesday night.
The video clip shows a flower-like egg sac - A tiny pair of eyes can be seen wiggling, and then an elongated head pushes through the egg sac freeing itself and it's eight tiny legs before swimming away. The little octopus is smaller than the nail of a pinkie finger.
Almost immediately, the pale pink, almost colorless octopus baby's cells begin firing pigment, its color taking on a brownish hue as it shots off out of view. Aquarium spokesman Matthew Klepeisz says their researchers have theorized that the swift pigment flow is either due to "the stress of being born or an instinct to camouflage fast."
This is the first successful octopus hatching at the aquarium, located in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The aquarium has had a number of common octopuses on display over the years, but none have produced viable babies. However, this time, 15 to 20 Caribbean reef octopuses have been more and more are likely.
“When an octopus lays eggs, they’re along a thread almost,” said Klepeisz. “At some point, she must have accidentally knocked this bundle down.” Staff had noticed the egg sac had broken loose several days ago and were just lucky to catch the birth on video.
The Caribbean reef octopus (Octopus briareus).
The Caribbean reef octopus (Octopus briareus).
Alessandro Dona (CC BY 3.0)
The mother octopus, smaller than a softball, is guarding and incubating the remaining clutch of eggs inside one of the caverns in her tank, and visitors won't be able to see much. “It’s more likely that you would see her tentacles splayed out,” Klepeisz said. “She’ll constantly push water over the egg sac.”
The Caribbean Octopus
The Caribbean reef octopus, Octopus briareus, is a predator found on coral reefs in the Caribbean Sea. They eat clams, snails, and crabs. They are masters of disguise and stay hidden in rocky lairs that are difficult to locate.
The aquarium received their adult female reef octopus in October last year, and she must have already mated before arriving. The female can hang onto the sperm packet until they are ready to lay their eggs, and then the gestation period is anywhere from 50 to 90 days.
All the baby octopuses born so far have been transferred to a hatchling aquarium out of public view. They will live only about a year or a year-and-a-half, and that's if they survive the first few days. “We’re hopeful that, with the attentive care from our staff, we will see more than just a few grow to adulthood,” Klepeisz said. “But you can never be certain.”
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