The Hexapus
August 13, 2013 3:45 PM   Subscribe

Until recently one of the rarest animals ever had only ever been sighted once - the hexapus. It's not an injured octopus but seemed to be a fully developed octopus that only had six limbs. The trouble with being so rare is that most people would never realize if they found a hexapus - like the vacationing family in Greece that found the second hexapus ever then cooked and ate it.

Technically Henry the Hexapus was an octopus as biologists theorized that his missing limbs were the results of a mutation and that by himself he did not represent a new species. The only analysis done on the second creature was that "It tasted just like a normal octopus."
posted by GuyZero (69 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
 
. . . . . .
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 3:53 PM on August 13, 2013 [5 favorites]


*
posted by wreckingball at 3:55 PM on August 13, 2013 [31 favorites]


Made funnier by the fact that "opa!" can either be used to express celebration or as a command to bring something to a stop.
posted by phaedon at 3:56 PM on August 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


The most surprisingly about this is the quality of the vacation photos.
posted by 2bucksplus at 3:59 PM on August 13, 2013 [5 favorites]


The second article comes to us from the Daily Mail, which means one needs to take it with an appropriate grain of salt.
posted by Spatch at 4:01 PM on August 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


C:。ミ
      ミ
posted by Ad hominem at 4:01 PM on August 13, 2013 [16 favorites]




Oh, man. When I read about this on Facebook about a week ago I got the same sinking feeling I had when I realized as an adult that I helped burn two sets of Barcelona chairs when I was cleaning out a barn in the late 1980s (I was a 13 year old following orders). Just this sinking feeling of shame and loss.

At least the guy has the sense to publish his misdeed so that others may learn from it.
posted by Tchad at 4:08 PM on August 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


Finally, more fodder for my campaign to make "bipus" happen as a descriptor for humans.
posted by threeants at 4:11 PM on August 13, 2013 [29 favorites]


I don't think there's anything particular exciting about this find. It's just a regular octopus which developed a bit wrong. So yes, it's rare, but not special in the way a new form of cephalopod might be.

And the Daily Mail says that the taverna cooked it for them, The Telegraph says that the chef in the taverna refused to cook it. Which is telling the truth? (Neither, is my guess)
posted by ambrosen at 4:13 PM on August 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


Why would you give me this new word to play with? It seems irresponsible.
posted by uncleozzy at 4:19 PM on August 13, 2013 [5 favorites]


Radial symmetry or GTFO
posted by Atom Eyes at 4:20 PM on August 13, 2013 [7 favorites]


Tchad - I know that sinking feeling. I painted over a banksy once by accident. Also I recorded over my mom and dad's wedding video with a tape I made called "goat hunter" which was basically just me and my buddy chasing my sister's goats around.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 4:20 PM on August 13, 2013 [56 favorites]


Also, whoever decided that etymological agreement for prefixes was more important than calling this thing a SEXAPUS was an idiot.
posted by threeants at 4:21 PM on August 13, 2013 [34 favorites]


Wait, for some reason I thought the article said 7 legs, which would have been a heptapus. Radial symmetry wins again!
posted by Atom Eyes at 4:27 PM on August 13, 2013


It's weird that they bury the bit that basically says "total non story" so low:
Biologists said the hexapus is the result of a natal abnormality in a common octopus (octopus vulgaris), not a new species.
So, in other words, man killed slightly funny-looking octopus. Big whoop.
posted by yoink at 4:27 PM on August 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


To find the second Hexapus ever to be found and then to eat it is a wonderfully biological thing to do.
posted by Divine_Wino at 4:28 PM on August 13, 2013 [5 favorites]


This octopus was rare in basically the same way that a three-legged squirrel would be rare. I don't really see it as that big of a tragedy. It was a deformed regular octopus, not some sort of special octopus species. Alternatively, it is rare in the same way that some people say their 1965 Ford Mustang is rare: "One of only 17 coupes with A/C in Metallic blue with white interior and the three-speed automatic and 14-inch wheels!" which is to say it's a slightly unusual variant of something that's very common.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 4:29 PM on August 13, 2013


Also I recorded over my mom and dad's wedding video with a tape I made called "goat hunter" which was basically just me and my buddy chasing my sister's goats around.

In your defense you have given your parents a story which is far more entertaining than any wedding video could possibly be

Also the video itself probably
posted by ook at 4:30 PM on August 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


Rare hexapus eaten by Mr. Hydras.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 4:30 PM on August 13, 2013


I tend to be a little sensitive about animal treatment, but sheesh, that poor guy had a rough end, with being prodded, stretched, bashed around by a little kid, then eaten. All very-well photographed too.


Side note - is it Freaky Aquatic Life Day or something on Metafilter?
posted by Fig at 4:34 PM on August 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


I wonder what would have happened if they had thrown it on the ice at a Red Wngs game?
posted by HuronBob at 4:34 PM on August 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Double
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 4:35 PM on August 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Double

Ha! Guy Zero's gonna be pissed when he discovers that some dude named Guy Zero beat him to the punch.
posted by yoink at 4:37 PM on August 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


which is to say it's a slightly VERY unusual variant of something that's very common
posted by Sys Rq at 4:38 PM on August 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


I mean, what part of "second one ever" does not translate to rare?
posted by Sys Rq at 4:42 PM on August 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


I mean, what part of "second one ever" does not translate to rare?

Well...rarely documented isn't exactly the same as "rare." I mean, how are we to know how many of these have been fished up, cooked and eaten either without anyone noticing the deformity or without them bothering to tell anyone about it? I think it's not surprising that it's a family of tourists who made such a big thing of catching this thing; tourists are much more likely to be all "hey, it's an octopus, let's count its legs--ZOMG, there are only SIX, we must TAKE ALL THE PHOTOGRAPHS!!!" I'll bet most Greek fisherman either say "huh, a freak" and toss it back or "them's good eatin'" (but, you know, in Greek) and toss them in the pot.
posted by yoink at 4:46 PM on August 13, 2013


True enough, but I come from a place with a lot of lobsters, and trust me, the guys pulling the traps know exactly how rare the rare ones are.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:53 PM on August 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


HEXAPODIA AS THE KEY INSIGHT
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:55 PM on August 13, 2013 [7 favorites]


This octopus was rare in basically the same way that a three-legged squirrel would be rare.

it depends - cats can be awfully finicky eaters
posted by pyramid termite at 4:57 PM on August 13, 2013


I mean, what part of "second one ever" does not translate to rare?

I am the only human ever to look like myself and have my own name! First one ever, boy am I rare!
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 4:58 PM on August 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


People are incredibly fucking stupid and love to grin while violent. This post makes me really damn sad.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 5:03 PM on August 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


I am the only human ever to look like myself and have my own name! First one ever, boy am I rare!

A special and unique snowflake, yes.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:03 PM on August 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Thanks to this post, I discovered that Google gives the nutrition facts for cooked octopus when you search for "octopus," yet it doesn't give you the nutrition facts for "cow," "pig," or "chicken."
posted by Dr. Send at 5:06 PM on August 13, 2013




yet it doesn't give you the nutrition facts for "cow," "pig," or "chicken."

"Beef" and "pork" work. When you type in "chicken" you get the choice at the right for "Chicken (animal)" and "Chicken (food)"--we need a word for the latter, obviously.
posted by yoink at 5:09 PM on August 13, 2013


"Chicken (animal)" and "Chicken (food)"--we need a word for the latter, obviously.

Chilean land bass.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:19 PM on August 13, 2013 [19 favorites]


I've always called it "tuna of the dirt."
posted by darksasami at 5:21 PM on August 13, 2013 [43 favorites]


but sheesh, that poor guy had a rough end, with being prodded, stretched, bashed around by a little kid, then eaten.

It's sort of the opposite of this three-year-old philosopher who wouldn't eat his octopus (previously posted on the blue, but that video link no longer works).
posted by shivohum at 5:32 PM on August 13, 2013


This user just favorited my last comment. If they post here, don't eat them.
posted by darksasami at 5:48 PM on August 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


My heart sank a little when I saw that picture of the boy bashing the octopus against the pavement to kill it. :(
posted by triggerfinger at 6:06 PM on August 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


Biologists said the hexapus is the result of a natal abnormality in a common octopus (octopus vulgaris), not a new species.
So, in other words, man killed slightly funny-looking octopus. Big whoop.


Could the main interest be that here we have an apparent mutation which produces a seemingly functional animal, but which is vanishingly rare, implying the possible existence of some unusual feature of the genome which prevents this mutation from arising as often as we might expect, or a rigorous selection in favor of 8 arms we can't currently guess the nature of, but which might lead to new understanding of the octopus life cycle?
posted by jamjam at 6:14 PM on August 13, 2013


So if a hexapus breeds with a decapus, their offspring have a good chance of being octopus right?
posted by Ad hominem at 6:32 PM on August 13, 2013


This is probably a good time to mention that the seven-arm octopus is actually a species... with eight arms. The males are just a bit shy.
posted by 23 at 6:38 PM on August 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


He only has two left feet.
posted by XMLicious at 6:40 PM on August 13, 2013


Ah, I knew this reminded me of something:
A new thought occurred to Cugel. The creature displayed qualities reminiscent of both coelenterate and echinoderm. A terrene nudibranch? A mollusc deprived of its shell? More importantly, was the creature edible?

Cugel brought forth his amulet, applied it to the central globe and to each of the tentacles. He heard neither chime nor buzz: the creature was non-poisonous. He unsheathed his knife, sought to excise one of the tentacles, but found the substance too resilient and tough to be cut. There was a brazier nearby, kept aglow for forging and sharpening the workers' tools. He lifted the creature by two of its tentacles, carried it to the brazier and arranged it over the fire. He toasted it carefully and when he deemed it sufficiently cooked, sought to eat it. Finally, after various undignified efforts, he crammed the creature down his throat, finding it without taste or sensible nutritive volume.
posted by 23 at 6:41 PM on August 13, 2013


Radial symmetry or GTFO

That's exactly what the girls tell Mr. Seven Arm Octopus.
posted by BlueHorse at 6:54 PM on August 13, 2013


It's like a four leaf clover. They're good luck to eat.
posted by Obscure Reference at 6:56 PM on August 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


If it were present in more than the puny four dimensions available to us, two arms may simply have not been perceptible. Indeed, it may have actually eaten the Greek family, despite it appearing to us to have been eaten by them.
posted by maxwelton at 7:06 PM on August 13, 2013 [5 favorites]


Also, whoever decided that etymological agreement for prefixes was more important than calling this thing a SEXAPUS was an idiot.

Well, the sexapus more properly (or improperly) is an entirely different creature -- you can see it depicted in Japanese woodblock prints.
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:54 PM on August 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's like a four leaf clover. They're good luck to eat.
posted by Obscure Reference at 6:56 PM on August 13


But only if you and your family bash the living shit out of them.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 8:15 PM on August 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


worst James Bond movie ever

For your parallel-evolved eyes only.
posted by GuyZero at 8:17 PM on August 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Unlike me who would decline to smash something's brain in before eating it, but who eats cooked meat every day, I guess I have to give the family credit for sticking to their guns? At least they weren't hypocrites, like I would have been in that situation. That's the only good thing I can come up with for this.
posted by bleep at 8:28 PM on August 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Americans, right?

I KNEW IT. We'll eat anything everything.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:48 PM on August 13, 2013


Maybe this guy can make a career of it. Scare up some sponsors to go on safari in Africa and shoot a four-assed monkey.
posted by indubitable at 9:07 PM on August 13, 2013


I once saw a travel-food show, might have been with Bourdain or that Bizzarre foods guy and apparently smashing an octopus against a hard thing is how Greek fishermen tenderdize them before cooking them? Anyone care to confirm this?

Just to say, they're not being particularly cruel just for fun, but following local customs.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 9:08 PM on August 13, 2013


"The sea creature, technically known as a lesser octopus"

That's really freaking classist. Sea-classist, I mean.
posted by ORthey at 9:18 PM on August 13, 2013


This is precisely how I imagine humanity's first contact with an actual alien race will happen, although my thoughts on who will be the eater and who the eaten change from day to day.
posted by elizardbits at 9:37 PM on August 13, 2013 [8 favorites]


My heart sank a little when I saw that picture of the boy bashing the octopus against the pavement to kill it. :(

I don't know if it makes it any better, but the kid isn't bashing the octopus to kill it: it's already dead. You can't bash a live octopus like that, mostly because it will cling to your arm and/or try to escape. That's why you usually kill it in less spectacular fashion (cut a thingy in its head) as soon as you take it out of the water. The bashing is to soften the otherwise unchewable meat - traditionally done forty times - optionally followed by hanging in the sun.

And yeah, they are tasty but once Great Cthulhu wakes up or they develop tool use we're fucked.
posted by Dr Dracator at 9:43 PM on August 13, 2013 [6 favorites]


It looks like askmetafiltros.gr doesn't get quite as many "should I eat it?" questions.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 10:20 PM on August 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


The worst guilt I feel over something I ate was baby octopii I ate at a Chinese restaraunt years ago. They were delicious, but all I could think was 'baby octopii!'
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 10:26 PM on August 13, 2013


Still, if you saw a cow with five legs, would you want to eat it?
posted by user92371 at 10:32 PM on August 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


elizardbits: "This is precisely how I imagine humanity's first contact with an actual alien race will happen, although my thoughts on who will be the eater and who the eaten change from day to day."

"Will" happen? Secretly that hexapus was thinking, "We ruled the stars! How did it come to this?"
posted by vanar sena at 10:44 PM on August 13, 2013 [6 favorites]


BlueHorse: “Radial symmetry or GTFO

That's exactly what the girls tell Mr. Seven Arm Octopus.”
"Beware the mighty septopus, he's a crazy guy…"
posted by ob1quixote at 12:24 AM on August 14, 2013


oooh sexapus would be a great halloween costume!

"what are you, an octopus?"
"no, look, I only have 6 legs, I'm a ssssssexapus"
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 2:06 AM on August 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


"no, look, I only have 6 legs, I'm a ssssssexapus

I musht be dreaming!
posted by yoink at 6:50 AM on August 14, 2013


Americans, right?

I KNEW IT. We'll eat anything everything.


Indeed.
posted by homunculus at 12:34 AM on August 15, 2013




The article annoyingly mentions that the arms reacted the same way to acid and tapwater, but doesn't appear to mention seawater... however that's answered in the paper abstract:
Isolated arms rapidly (~ 1 s) withdrew in response to a pinch, tap water and acetic acid (threshold 1%) applied to the tip region. A “quasi-joint” formed in the proximal arm during the withdrawal response in horizontally mounted preparations. No response was evoked by sea water or gentle compression.
posted by XMLicious at 3:31 PM on August 27, 2013


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