A bizarre video was shared on Twitter. It looked like a deep-sea blossom, but suddenly a small baby octopus spurts out of it. That baby octopus zoomed away, shifting colors from white to purple. I’m not sure what we’re looking at here.
The Virginia Aquarium uploaded a video of a newborn Caribbean reef octopus (Octopus briareus) developing from a bundle of eggs. These octopuses are renowned to be masters at disguise, which explains the color shift. “As soon as it burst out of the egg, it went into an immediate camouflage,” explains Julie Levans, senior curator of the aquarium. These octopuses utilize specialized muscles to open and close chromatophores, which are little sacs of color on their skin. This little fellow was probably reacting to the black countertop underneath its tank.
The mother of the baby octopus came to the aquarium around six months ago, and she laid around 100 and 200 eggs four months after. This octopus, which is the size of a baseball, lives alone in the tank since it is a solitary and cannibalistic species. Female octopuses are known to lay eggs, so the eggs weren’t unusual. “What caught us off guard was the fact that they had been fertilized,” explains Levans.
These octopuses can retain sperm nearly for about 100 days, according to Levans.
Levans believes that the octopus should have mated with a minimum of one male in the wild before arriving at the aquarium. The octopus then tied her egg bundles to rocks in her aquarium, flushing them with water and massaging them with her arms to ensure oxygen circulating through them. Incubation times range from 50 to 90 days, based on the temperature of the water.
This little bundle of eggs slipped off the rocks in some way. But finally, the aquarium staff was able to collect it and place it in a tank. The eggs began to hatch at 4 p.m. on February 6th. Since then, the remainder of the eggs in that video, as well as a few more still clinging to the rocks, have hatched. The team was hopeful that more kids will emerge in the coming days. Baby octopuses have a poor survival rate, according to Levans, with just one or two out of a clutch of eggs surviving. However, the team intends to nurture any offspring that survive and display them in their own aquarium, as well as perhaps sending them to other authorized aquariums.
The mama octopus’ prognosis isn’t as encouraging. She’ll end up dying once her eggs hatch. This is normal for a species that exists for only one and a half years on average. “Mating and having babies is their entire life goal,” Levan explains. “We believe that an octopus female’s lifespan is over when she lays eggs.”
Thousands of people have seen a fascinating portion of the octopus life cycle owing to this octopus and the video of her eggs. “It also appears to be rather adorable,” Levans adds. She believes that by doing so, people would be reminded of the need of protecting aquatic animals such as young octopuses, sharks, and sea turtles. “We must safeguard the environment in which we live.”
Let us know your opinions about this amazing baby octopus in the comments.