Despite the name, it now turns out that Octavius is female. But the real surprise was that she also happened to be pregnant; the keepers had no idea until early last week, when she gave birth and turned her tank into a veritable snow globe of cephalopod eggs.
“I noticed this cloud of moving dots and I realised, ‘Oh my God, she had babies. There are babies. There are babies everywhere.’ And a sort of panic ensued,” aquarium curator Devin Dumont shared.
“I immediately started scooping them out and putting them in buckets and there were just buckets and buckets and buckets full of tiny octopi.”
Finding a tank full of baby octopuses (or octopodes for language pedants) would certainly be enough to shock anybody into mixing up their Greek and Latin word roots.
Dumont didn’t know Octavius’s sex when he received the delivery of the common octopus from Charleston’s South Carolina Aquarium. it had been caught in the wild, and nobody had stopped to check the octopus’s gonads.
Female octopuses can store sperm until conditions are perfect for the fertilisation and release of eggs, so it’s likely Octavius was waiting for the right moment to start her family of thousands.
It was during a routine tank clean that Dumont found the aquarium now had a nursery. The only clue Octavius gave to her imminent arrivals was a quiet retreat into a rocky crevice in the corner of her tank last month.
“The mother will protect the eggs in her den and waft or aerate or fluff them,”
Source video: Collecting
Kim Ngan Do
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