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World's first six-legged octopus discovered

  • Story Highlights
  • Six-legged octopus has been dubbed a 'hexapus' by marine experts
  • Octopodes have eight arms and legs and missing limbs usually grow back
  • Experts say that Henry's two missing limbs stem from a birth defect
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By CNN's Saeed Ahmed
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(CNN) -- English marine experts have laid their hands on an octopus that's missing two of its own: a six-limbed creature that they have dubbed 'hexapus.'

art.hexapus.jpg

Henry the 'hexapus' photographed by staff at Blackpool's Sea Life Centre, in northwest England.

Ordinarily, octopodes have eight arms and legs. And should they lose one or more in an accident, they can grow the limbs back.

Which is what makes 'Henry' -- as staffers at Blackpool Sea Life Centre in northwest England have dubbed their find -- so unique.

His missing limbs stem from a birth defect.

"If you look closer between the legs, there's webbing that attaches each of the arms together," John Filmer of the Sea Life Centre told CNN Tuesday. "You'd assume if he'd lost one of his legs in an accident, there would be space for an arm to grow back.

"But there's no space for two extra legs to grow back. That's just how he is."

Staffers called others zoos and aquariums and scoured the Internet to see if there were records of similar creatures.

"No one has ever heard of another case of a six-legged octopus," said display superviser Carey Duckhouse.

'Henry' was picked up from a local zoo along with seven other octopodes for a new exhibit at the center. No one noticed his missing legs until he attached himself to the inside of his glass tank.

They named him 'Henry' because it alliterated well with 'hexapus.'

"It has also been mentioned in the grapevine that he was named after King Henry the VIII who had six wives when he should have had eight," Filmer, the centre's marketing director, said.

Until Henry, the most famous six-legged octopus was one that appeared in a 1955 B-movie, 'It Came From Beneath The Sea.'

As was common of many science fiction movies of the era, the film was made on a shoestring budget -- and designers left off two legs from the creature because of budget contraints.

Octopuses are renowned for having three hearts, blue blood and the ability to alter their skin complexion in the blink of an eye.

But, said the center, "(e)ven these astonishing characteristics however are commonplace compared to Henry's unique tally in the leg department." E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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