Monday, October 22, 2012

Octopus ova

These newly-hatched little guys have been introduced as octopodes, a word I hadn't heard before (although I love to watch and read about* the octopus). Thanks to the Online Etymology Dictionary entry below, we learn that the term is the preferred plural, that it is favored over octopuses, and that octopi is in fact a mistake:
Octopus 1758, genus name of a type of 8-armed cephalopod mollusks, from Gk. oktopous "8-footed," from okto "8" + pous "foot." Proper plural is octopodes, though octopuses probably works better in English. Octopi is from mistaken assumption that -us is the L. noun ending that takes -i in plural.

From National Geographic, we learn that the photo was a happy accident, snapped by explorers-in-residence during their expedition to Gabon. They were in a research vessel anchored 52m off Loango National Park on the coast of the African continent. Steve Firman was piloting an ROV and used the manipulator arm to bring a large seashell on board. Out crawled an octopus, so they put her and the shell in a tank of seawater. The eggs she had just laid inside were hatching and streaming out by the 1,000s! Enric Sala took photos before releasing them back into the sea.

*Not eat!
A dozen eggs:

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