If you’ve never seen an octopus hatch, now is your chance. These cute baby Caribbean reef octopuses, the size of a pinky nail, were hatched at the Virginia Aquarium. The way they immediately darken to purple is a fun surprise.
According to The Verge:
The video, posted by the Virginia Aquarium, shows a baby Caribbean reef octopus (Octopus briareus) no bigger than a pinky nail hatching from a bundle of eggs. As for the color change, these octopuses are known to be masters of disguise. “It was going into an instant camouflage as soon as it came out of the egg,” says Julie Levans, senior curator at the aquarium. These octopuses use specialized muscles to open and close little sacs of pigment in their skin called chromatophores — and this little guy was probably responding to the black tabletop beneath its tank.
The baby octopus’s mom arrived at the aquarium about six months ago, and four months later, she laid between 100 and 200 eggs. Since this softball-sized species is solitary and also sometimes cannibalistic, this octopus lives alone at the aquarium. The eggs themselves weren’t surprising — female octopuses typically lay eggs. “What did catch us by surprise was the fact that they were fertilized,” Levans says.
— Virginia Aquarium (@VAAquarium) February 7, 2018