Giant Octopus Eggs Hatch at the Vancouver Aquarium
It has been almost seven months since C.C., the giant Pacific octopus who lives at the Vancouver Aquarium, mated and laid eggs. Earlier this week, close to 300 of her eggs hatched. The babies are only 5 millimetres in length.
“Although it is not unusual for octopus eggs to hatch in aquariums, very few hatchings have ever survived,” explains Dr. Dennis Thoney, director of Animal Operations at the Vancouver Aquarium. “Chances of survival are very low because giant Pacific octopuses have a seven to ten month long pelagic larval stage. To further our knowledge of octopus reproduction, we will attempt to feed and maintain some the larvae for as long as possible.”
C.C. was introduced to her male partner, Clove, last October in the Strait of Georgia display. Mating marks the beginning of the end for octopuses, and Clove died 67 days after mating. C.C. is expected to die naturally in the coming weeks now that egg incubation is completed.
“Opportunities to observe giant Pacific octopus mating are rare and we have already been extremely lucky to witness it several times here at the Vancouver Aquarium,” adds Dr. Thoney. “There is much to learn about octopuses and we hope to learn more as we attempt to raise the newly hatched octopus larvae.”
The giant Pacific octopus typically lays around 70,000 eggs on average, of which only a few are expected to survive to adulthood in their natural habitat.