Thursday, March 6, 2008

Six-Legged "Hexapus" Discovered

Six of one, half a dozen of another—it's all the same for this odd octopus.

Caretakers at a British aquarium recently discovered that one of its newest residents, an octopus named Henry, had six legs instead of the usual eight.

Workers at the Blackpool Sea Life Centre first noticed that Henry was—as it were—two feet short, as he was crawling up the wall of his glass tank.

Aquarium officials dubbed the creature a hexapus, saying he's the first of his kind ever documented.

"We've scoured the Internet and talked to lots of other aquariums, and no one has ever heard of another case of a six-legged octopus," aquarium supervisor Carey Duckhouse told the AFP news service.

The sea creature, technically known as a lesser octopus, was first found in a lobster trap off the coast of Wales two weeks ago.

The cephalopod's deficient limbs appear to be the result of a genetic mutation rather than an accident, and the animal doesn't represent a new species, experts said.

Henry will go on public display in about a month, and visitors will be able to see that he gets along just fine with what he has, officials added.

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