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Unusual tropical octopus scooped up by fisherman near San Pedro

October 18, 2012 |  8:52 am

An octopus from the tropics has surfaced in Southern California -- and can now be viewed at the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium after it was scooped up by a fisherman near San Pedro.

The female argonaut octopus, commonly called a paper nautilus, is a rare sight because it normally lives in tropical and subtropical waters.'

It floats near the ocean surface, grasps small crustaceans and mollusks with its eight sucker-covered tentacles and gnaws on them with its tiny beak.

Experts say that unusually warm fall weather and balmy ocean currents have created perfect conditions for the cephalopod.

"This was an example of an animal that was brought to us by a warm current that peeled off and was brought very close to shore," said Mike Schaadt, the San Pedro aquarium's director.

Hundreds of visitors are streaming through the aquarium to get a glimpse of the baseball-sized creature, who's making her home in a 4-foot tall tank.

Marine biologists at the aquarium are just as excited as the visitors because there's little known about the species.

"Any time we get an animal that we can learn more about -- especially an octopus, which I think most people are just drawn to -- that's a great opportunity," Schaadt said.

Workers are recording everything they're learning about the octopus.

"With this particular animal we're being very careful because everything we do may show something new that hasn't been observed before," Schaadt said.

Richard Jasildo, who brought his son Evan to the aquarium said, "This is a once-in-a-lifetime-type thing. Normally we do homework after school, but I said I think we need to come out and see this today."


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-- KTLA News