Earlier this month, a fisherman, fishing for crab off the coast of Cornwall, accidentally caught what scientists believe is the first recorded octo-fish, a Spiny Starfish, with eight legs instead of five.
Realizing that he had something unusual, he took the fish, which was still alive, to the Blue Reef Aquarium in Newquay, where marine biologists have had a chance to examine it.
While Starfish are known for their remarkable ability to re-grow legs, and often have six (two where one should be), scientists think that 'Stan's' eight legs are not a result of that.
Instead, they believe Stan is part of a conjoined twin - that the egg that Stan was born from should have separated into two and formed another Starfish. However, it failed to do so, leaving the it with a few extra limbs!
They came to this conclusion after examining Stan's central disc - the control center that houses its mouth, stomach, a specialized water pump and other essential organs. While normal starfish have one disc, Stan sports two.
Other than that and the fact that at twelve inches in diameter, Stan is almost twice the size of the normal Spiny Starfish, it is in great health - in fact those extra limbs are coming in handy to not only grab more food, but also, in making Stan a star(fish) attraction at the Aquarium.
This species of Starfish named after the spiny lines that bulge up along their arms, can be primarily found in the Atlantic Ocean, English Channel, North Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. They are voracious eaters that live on the bottom of the seas and feed off everything in sight - dead or alive. If the prey is too big, these fish even have the ability to push their stomachs out of their mouth and swallow the whole thing!
Thanks to their big appetites, they are known to make big dents in man-made mussel and oyster farms, making them quite unpopular with fishermen - who often tear them up believing they have killed them.
However, thanks to their amazing re-generating abilities, the fish simply grow back their legs and come back even stronger! sources;bbc.co.uk, dailymail.co.uk,europeanmarinelife.org