A cluster of cephalopod egg sacs at the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center began to erupt and a newly hatched baby octopus bursts through, instantly changing from its nascent white to a different color before swimming away.
According to the Center, it is the hatching process that causes the color change.
Octopuses have chromatophores that change color allowing them to camouflage themselves. It appears that the sudden stimulation of hatching caused them to fire off…We believe that the stress of hatching causes the octopus’s chromatophores to fire almost immediately, resulting in the color change you see there.
The center is working to ensure all the hatchlings survive but will need to send them half a world away when it is time to release them into the wild.
While we are cautiously optimistic, it is common for octopuses to lay over one hundred eggs in its clutch to ensure at least one makes it to adulthood. Thankfully, these little critters are going to receive the best possible chance from our incredible animal care team. …This species is from a different aqua-clime than ours, so we will most likely work with other AZA-accredited organizations to find them homes. When one wins, we all win.