While snorkeling during an annual family vacation to Greece, Hydras, a mechanical engineer born in Greece who lives in Washington, D.C., found a rare “hexapus,” an octopus with only six legs on the Papa Nero beach on the Pelion peninsula.
But the chef refused to do so and told Labros he should have let the hexapus live. Labros then cooked the animal and ate it.
Only afterwards did Labros consult a friend who is a biologist and find out that he had caught, killed and consumed an incredibly rare animal. Only one other hexapus has ever been discovered, off the coast of north Wales in 2008. Dubbed “Henry,” this hexapus was first taken to the Blackpool Sea Life Center in England, then released back into the wild.
Saying that one reason he went ahead and ate the hexapus was that he could not find out anything about it at the time as “there was no internet where we were.” Labros admits to now feeling “really bad,” as he tells SWNS.com:
“When we caught it, there was nothing to suggest it was any different or had been damaged.
“I thought it had just 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.”
Labros says that he now wants to atone for his very big error and “pursue the scientific angle to make scientists aware of the existence of the wild hexapus.” Doing so, he says, “is the least that I can do given my ignorance and guilt that I feel for killing such a rare animal.” He has taken what remains of the hectopus to specialists at the Hellenic Center for Marine Research in Greece.
Matt Bentley, a professor of Marine Biology at Newcastle University, underscores how rare the hexapus is. It is not a new species but rather the result of an abnormality in its development, either before it was born or early on. Bentley also suggests that the hexapus might originally have had eight legs, but lost them in injury.
However the hexapus came to be, it is more than regretful that it was found by Labros only to be so quickly, and cruelly, killed. If he had taken the concerns of the chef to heart, scientists could at least have been able to study the hexapus to learn about such a fascinating creature.
Better yet, if you encounter wildlife, better — best — not to get too close and not to make contact. In the words of Care2 blogger Judy Molland, don’t be ignorant and inflict harm (and, in the case Labros, death) on an innocent animal.
Photo via jenly/Flickr