A family of American tourists vacationing in Greece unknowingly ate a rare octopus that was only the second of its kind ever found.
Labros Hydras, a mechanical engineer from Washington, D.C., was snorkeling at Papa Nero beach when he saw the six-legged creature — called a hexapus — and pulled it out of the water. Following local tradition, he smashed it against a rock and took it to a nearby tavern to be cooked. However, the chef refused to cook it and told Hydras that the creature was so rare that he should have let it live.
The 49-year-old father of two then fried the hexapus on his own, and ate it with a slice of lemon and tomato. After he finished his meal, Hydras did some research — calling a biologist friend since there was no Internet — and found out that the animal was extremely rare.
“It tasted just like a normal octopus but now I feel really bad,” Hydras told SWNS. “When we caught it, there was nothing to suggest it was any different or had been damaged. I thought it had just been born with six tentacles. We go to Greece every year and when we catch an octopus we do the same thing so we just did not think about it.”
The only other time a hexapus has ever been found was in Wales in 2008. Nicknamed Henry, the sea creature was taken to Blackpool Sea Life Centre before being released back into the sea.
Hydras felt such remorse over killing the rare octopus that he vowed to help spread awareness.
“Now I want to pursue the scientific angle to make scientists aware of the existence of the wild hexapus,” he said. “It is the least that I can do given my ignorance and guilt that I feel for killing such a rare animal.”
According to biologists, a hexapus is the result of a natal abnormality and is not a different species.