KEAHOLE >> A researcher looking to successfully rear octopus on land along the Kona Coast has welcomed his first batch of octopus larvae.
Jake Conroy, president and CEO of the Kanaloa Octopus Farm, announced last week that an octopus at the facility had given birth to 10,000 to 20,000 larvae that are “absolutely adorable,” he said.
The birth came as a surprise to Conroy, who had expected the octopus to lay hundreds of thousands of eggs that would take an additional 30-40 days to reach the larval stage, West Hawaii Today reports.
“I was cleaning her tank and taking the female out because she was showing signs of laying eggs,” Conroy said. “All of the sudden, she took her siphon and started blowing her larvae at me.”
With the larval period expected to last about 30 days, Conroy said his main goal right now is to find sustenance for the youngsters.
“The absolute hardest part is to get food,” he explained, adding that the larvae have a yolk they can survive on for up to 48 hours.
Conroy, who has conducted marine research at the Hawaii Pacific University and the Hawaii Division of Aquatic Resources, started the octopus farm at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority in north Kona last summer. He said he plans to eventually provide octopuses to aquariums and for eating.
If the larvae survive their first month being born in captivity, they will become juvenile octopodes and measure about 1 centimeter long. Octopuses take less than a year to reach maturity.
“It’s amazing,” said Jan War, operations manager at the lab.
Conroy said four other females octopuses are likely pregnant and may gave birth in coming months.