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36-armed octopus on show at Japanese aquarium

The octopus at Saikai National Park Kujukushima Aquarium Umi Kirara with 36 branched arms is seen in Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture, on July 7, 2021. (Mainichi/Hiroshi Watanuki)

SASEBO, Nagasaki -- A 36-armed octopus has debuted at an aquarium in this southwestern Japan city.

    Visitors to the Saikai National Park Kujukushima Aquarium Umi Kirara in the Nagasaki Prefecture city of Sasebo marveled as the octopus deftly used its 36 limbs of various sizes to catch food. According to the aquarium, it was donated by a fisher who caught it in waters off the city's Shikamachi neighborhood in early June. Its sex is unknown.

    The octopus's original eight arms have branched out, and the split limbs also have suction cups. Octopus arms can regenerate after being bitten off by fish and other predators, and in rare cases they can reproduce multiple limbs. But whether this is down to a sudden mutation or congenital cause is said to be unknown.

    In the past, an octopus in Japan was confirmed to have 96 arms.

    (Japanese original by Hiroshi Watanuki, Sasebo Bureau)

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