Mike Fay and Enric Sala are exploring the waters off the coast of Gabon with an eye toward protecting its ecosystem. This picture was taken when their remote operated vehicle (ROV) selected a shell from the sea floor.
When we picked up the shell from the ROV’s arm, to our surprise, a small octopus came out of the shell. It was a female that laid her eggs inside the shell. We put shell and octopus in a tank with seawater, and after one minute thousands of octopus larvae started to stream out of the shell. The octopus eggs were hatching! That was the first time we had observed such a magnificent show. The larvae were changing coloration from transparent with dark spots to brown, and swimming like squid – although on a millimeter scale.
(Image credit:Enric Sala)