Caretakers for what was initially thought to be a ‘male’ octopus named Octavian at the University of Georgia’s Marine Education Center and Aquarium were in for quite a surprise this week when the creature’s tank was suddenly teeming with what appeared to be many bits of white confetti.
Image Credit: Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant
Upon closer examination, aquarium curator Devin Dumont realized that these weren’t bits of confetti, but rather a clutch of baby octopi. Estimates suggest there were up to 10,000 individual babies swimming around in the tank.
“I noticed this cloud of moving dots and I realized, ‘Oh my God, she had babies. There are babies. There are babies everywhere,’” Dumont said in a statement to local news outlet Savannah Now.
“And a sort of panic ensued. I immediately started scooping them out and putting them in buckets and there were just buckets and buckets and buckets full of tiny octopi.”
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As it would seem, Dumont was preparing to clean the animal’s tank when he happened upon the astonishing circumstances. He quickly grabbed buckets and started removing the baby octopi from the tank for safe keeping throughout the tank-cleaning procedure.
In the video footage below, you can see the baby octopi moving around under a microscope:
The aquarium’s staff are just now coming to grips with the idea that Octavian was a female. It was undoubtedly a mistake made while attempting to identify the animal’s sex before acceptance, but there’s something else too…
Female octopuses are known to die shortly after giving birth, which means the aquarium will soon lose its favorite eight-tentacled attraction. The mother sticks around just long enough to guard her young before meeting an early demise.
Fortunately, the aquarium’s staff will be taking great care of Octavian’s plethora of offspring. Some will be kept for captivity, but the rest will be released in Skidaway River where they can start a meaningful new life in the wild.
Source: Savannah Now