A mechanical engineer from Washington, DC was snorkeling in Greece when he caught an octopus. Well, it was sort of an octopus. It only had six legs, which really makes is a hexapus – a word so uncommon that it gets flagged by spellcheck. And uncommon his find was. Trouble was, he didn't know that at the time.
In Greece, octopus is a common meal item. So Labros Hydras did what Greeks do. He took the octopus to a local market to have it cooked. The shed there told him the hexapus was unusual and that he shouldn't eat it. Hydras ignored him. He and his family did what Greeks usually do with octopus. They beat it against a rock until it was dead, then beat it some more to tenderize it, then fried it and ate it.
"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," Labros explained.
After dinner, Labros got curious about this unusual-looking octopus. Nothing appeared to be damaged, so how did it come to have six legs?
“I wanted to find out more, but there was no Internet where we were”, Mr Labros told The Telegraph.
So, Labros called a biologist friend of his. Turns out, the chef was right. A hexapus is very rare, so rare in fact that the only other one known to have been seen was five years ago, when one was found off the coast of North Wales.
"I was horrified," said Labros. "Now I want to pursue the scientific angle to make scientists aware of the existence 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."
It turns out, a hexapus is not a different species. It is an octopus with a birth defect.[photo credit: London Telegraph]