[vimeo width=”680″ height=”400″]http://vimeo.com/20288962[/vimeo]
The video of hatchling giant pacific octopus by Richard Ross is one of the most incredible we’ve seen in quite a long time. The waterfall of thousands of little octopuses darting into the water column will take the breath away of cephalopod fan and reef keepers alike. These cool little paralarvae are Octopus ‘vulgaris’ (there are several Octopus that use the species name vulgaris which is why it’s in quotes) and their mother arrived at the Steinhart Aquarium roughly three weeks ago. After a week or so in quarantine, the large female octopus was put on display and quickly took up residence inside a glass bottle; just as quickly it started denning, it spawned.
With this octopus species, like many, the female unfortunately also dies shortly after the hatching of her eggs. Knowing the octopus had spawned, the hearts of the Steinhart staff sank (especially Rich’s). Spawning in captivity is absolutely great of course, but octopus larvae are notoriously difficult to raise and feed, especially this species since it has very small planktonic ‘paralarvae’. Earlier success with the species at home by Rich Ross had paralarvae survive until day 9. Currently additional egg strands have hatched, with some larvae in kreisels and others taking residence in the display tank for the public to see. The larvae are 1-2mm long and are being offered 24 hour Artemia along with rotifers. The mother is currently still alive and on display taking care of the remaining eggs.