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Updated: July 11, 2010 02:59 IST

Newly acquired octopuses a huge draw

P. Oppili
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One of the octopuses seen near the national Tricolour at the Marine Aquarium of the ZSI.
Photo: K.Pichumani
One of the octopuses seen near the national Tricolour at the Marine Aquarium of the ZSI.

Three specimens of octopus exhibited by the Zoological Survey of India at its Marine Aquarium have become a major attraction, says K. Venkataraman, Scientist and Officer-in-Charge, Marine Biology Regional Centre, Zoological Survey of India (ZSI), Chennai.

The three octopuses were collected from fishermen of Srinivasapuram near Foreshore Estate recently. A total of eight octopuses were obtained though only three of them survived.

They spend most of their time hiding inside the small glass bowls, provided as enrichments by the ZSI authorities.

Dr. Venkataraman said one of them had laid eggs inside the shell and it was starving and not taking the food offered. Of the three, two are slightly bigger in size . So the smaller octopus is always chased by the bigger octopuses.

Similarly, the two bigger ones also fight with each other, he observed.

Eight species of octopuses have been identified in India and all of them are non-poisonous.

If a human hand is taken near them, they stick to the hand using their suction cups. When they realise that it is not their prey, they release themselves from the hand, he says. Their life span is about six months. The octopuses found in cold water habitats live for five years. They have two feeding tentacles, he said.

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