VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – The miracle of life is a wondrous thing and this video of a baby octopus being born is nothing short of awe-inspiring.
The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center welcomed the eight-armed baby to the world on Tuesday afternoon. The next day, adoring fans flocked to Twitter to see the grand birth of the Caribbean reef octopus in a 10-second video.
The baby octopus changes from a translucent white to a brownish color as it breaks from its egg sac. The explanation is a reasonable one — being born can be stressful.
Upon hatching, the stress of being born can cause the octopus’ chromatophores, or sacs that contain pigment, to fire.
“Our team believes it could have been either the stress of the hatch that caused them to fire or that it may have been related to the immediate instinct to camouflage for protection,” explained Matthew Klepeisz, the public relations manager for the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center.
The color change is a natural behavior for the octopus.
“The octopus has specialized muscles that use electrical pulses to open and close the sacs allowing the octopus to camouflage itself,” said Julie Levans, senior curator of fishes, invertebrates and herpetology.
While this birth went smoothly, there was a point in the process where things didn’t look so rosy.
The mother octopus was still in her exhibit when a bundle from her egg clutch fell, possibly while massaging her eggs, Klepeisz said. The team was able to recover it safely.
The baby featured in the video is doing well. The aquarium has yet to name the octopus. It’s species is called octopus briareus, in case you were wondering.
— Virginia Aquarium (@VAAquarium) February 7, 2018