Sealife expert to spend Father's Day hand-rearing his 40 baby OCTOPUSES
Aquatic expert Greg Casten will be one of the busiest dads in the country this Father's Day - because he is bringing up 40 octopuses by hand.
The tiny eight-limbed creatures were born at the Weymouth Sea Life Park and are being fed shrimps on the end of tweezers.
Greg will be spending this Father's Day on Sunday lovingly feeding the brood that he has trained to chase and catch the offerings.
It is thought to be the first time in the UK that octopuses have been captive raised on such a large scale.
The creatures are already twice as big as when they were born just over two weeks ago.
The species - Octopus bimaculatus - are usually found off the coast of California in America but these will grow up to live in various SeaLife centres around Europe.
Currently they are just half-an-inch long and will be ready to move when they measure about three inches in length.
A TV camera will be fitted to the special tank so it will be possible to watch the animals grow up.
They are known as two-spot octopuses and when fully grown their bodies will be the size of a fist.
Surrogate father Greg said: 'I am hand-rearing 40 of them and I feed them from the end of tweezers.
'I use shrimp and they took some encouragement to take the food. I move it around so they have to come after it.
'They grab it with their legs and then pull it towards their mouths. They are now 50 per cent bigger than when we started.
'We monitor how much they eat and collect data about their habits while they grow.
'We have others that were born which we are not hand-feeding and we will see how they get on.
'Parents hatch up to 400 in one go, but the majority do not live. These are for stocking our other centres and we will move them when they are big enough to be sexed.'
These octopuses live for about two years and they get their name 'two-spot' from the false eye spots under each real eye.
In the ocean, the female encounters a male who gives her a packet of sperm, which she keeps until she is ready to lay eggs, which is usually at the end of her life.
The first sign of egg laying is that the female builds a very secure den by piling up rocks and shells and she usually does not leave it until the eggs hatch.
Even when a female has never mated, she can still lay infertile eggs.