Daily Mail

Oh no!

Family on holiday in Greece catch a rare six-legged hexapus ... then kill it and eat it for their supper

- Daily Mail Reporter

AFTER catching an octopus on holiday, holidaymak­er Labros Hydras followed local tradition by killing it and taking it to a taverna to be served for his supper.

That’s when he discovered this was no ordinary specimen – it was a ‘hexapus’ with only six legs instead of the usual eight.

The creature found during a snorkellin­g trip in Greece is believed to be only the second recorded worldwide.

Its rarity was explained to Mr Hydras by the chef he approached, who refused to cook the hexapus and said it should have been left in the sea.

But the father-of-two, 49, did what he has done many times before on holiday, frying up the octopus and serving it with tomato, lemon and a lettuce leaf.

It was only then that he checked with a friend who is a biologist – and felt sick at what he had done.

The first known hexapus was found off North Wales in 2008 and taken to Blackpool Sea Life Centre. Nicknamed Henry, he was then released back into the sea where he has probably died of natural causes as their maximum life span is five years.

A repentant Mr Hydras said: ‘It tasted just like a normal octopus but now I feel really bad.

‘When we caught it, there was nothing to suggest it was any different or had been damaged.

‘I thought it had been born with six tentacles. We go to Greece every year and when we catch an octopus, we do the same thing so we just did not think about it.

‘I wanted to find out more, but there was no internet where we were. I then called my friend who is a biologist and he told me it was true and I was horrified.’ Mr Hydras, who was born in Greece but is now a US citizen living in Washington DC, caught the hexapus with his daughter Areti, ten, and son Arion, six, off the Pelion peninsula.

The mechanical engineer has given details to the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research in Athens to increase awareness of the wild hexapus.

‘It is the least that I can do given my ignorance and guilt that I feel for killing such a rare animal,’ he said. Biologists said the hexapus is the result of a natal abnormalit­y in a common octopus (octopus vulgaris), not a new species.

Professor Matt Bentley, a marine biology expert at Newcastle University, said: ‘It is rare to find an octopus like this.

‘There is every possibilit­y it could have grown an abnormalit­y in early developmen­t.

‘There is nothing to suggest it is a different species. Another explanatio­n is it could have been injured and healed over time.’

 ??  ?? Before and
after: The family land the hexapus and, below,
how it ended up
Before and after: The family land the hexapus and, below, how it ended up

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