Nearly 300 giant Pacific octopus eggs bred by the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre hatched earlier this week.
According to the aquarium, giant Pacific octopus C.C. mated and laid eggs seven months ago. Earlier this week, close to 300 eggs that were sampled periodically since May hatched.
"Although it is not unusual for octopus eggs to hatch in aquariums, very few hatchings have ever survived," said 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."
But Thoney said it's very unlikely the octopuses will survive.
"They've only ever been raised through this stage once or twice, ever. It's very very difficult, so the chances of it happening is nil."
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," said 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.