Visitors to an aquarium need microscopes to see the latest attraction – hundreds of baby octopuses which are are so small they can swim through the head of a needle.
Staff at Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary, Norfolk, were stunned when a ‘male’ octopus they named Roland after gave birth to 400 babies.
But the tiny octopuses measure less than 1mm across and are so small that they can only be seen through a special tank with inbuilt microscopes.
Manager Nigel Croasdale said: ”With the naked eye the octopus young look like specks of dirt but under a magnifying glass you can see they are a perfect miniature.
”Octopus eggs only hatch in aquariums once in a blue moon and we are doing everything we can to try and keep them alive, it would be fantastic if some grew to maturity.
”We are asking aquariums across the country if they would like to take some, if they feel they could successfully rear them.”
The sea life sanctuary acquired Roland the octopus in February this year and she surprised staff by laying eggs which hatched on April 11.
The baby octopuses have been transferred to a special tank with magnifying glasses attached so visitors to the aquarium can see them clearly.
Nigel added: ”We didn’t know if Roland was male or female.
”She must have been pregnant already, octopuses can store male sperm until they are ready to lay.”
If they survive to maturity the Common Octopuses will grow to up to one metre in length in just over five months.