Page last updated at 16:16 GMT, Monday, 21 December 2009

Octopus found in Cornish crab pot


Inka the octopus is being cared for at the Blue Reef Aquarium in Newquay

A fisherman from Cornwall has hauled up a rare Mediterranean octopus in one of his crab pots.

Ned Bailey was fishing off Falmouth when the octopus, measuring more than a metre (3ft), was discovered.

The species is normally found in warmer waters, but experts say numbers are on the increase, possibly due to a gradual rise in sea temperatures.

The creature, which has been named Inka, is being cared for by staff at the Blue Reef Aquarium in Newquay.

An octopus has no skeleton, meaning it is very manoeuvrable and can fit through very small crevices and gaps.

Inka seems to prefer to hide away from us
Matt Slater

Matt Slater from the aquarium said from its size, the octopus appeared to be a mature adult.

"But we're not sure if Inka's male or female, because you can't sex them very easily," he told BBC News.

"You have to be able to check their tentacles and Inka seems to prefer to hide away from us."

Mr Slater said the octopus has the most advanced brain of any invertebrate and has a reputation as one of the marine world's most intelligent inhabitants.

Each of the octopus' eight arms is controlled by an elaborate nervous system consisting of 50 million neurons.

They can perform highly complex tasks, including unscrewing jars and opening boxes and can distinguish between different shapes and colour.

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