JENKS, Okla. (KFOR) – The Oklahoma Aquarium is mourning the loss of a beloved octopus.
Ruby, an East Pacific red octopus, joined the Oklahoma Aquarium in March when she came in on a kelp holdfast, a root-like structure that holds aquatic sessile organisms, ordered by an OSU invertebrate zoology class.
When she arrived at the aquarium, she was about a year old and had recently laid eggs, signifying her final days in the natural life cycle.
Aquarium officials say East Pacific reds have a short lifespan of roughly two years. Once a female lays eggs, she stops eating and devotes herself to only caring for and protecting her eggs. If the eggs are fertilized, the octopus dies of starvation and exhaustion. If the eggs are not fertilized, like Ruby’s case, the octopus keeps watch over her eggs until she passes and the eggs do not hatch.
Ruby “played an important role in our mission ‘to educate and inspire conservation of our aquatic world through interactive discovery.’ We are very grateful for her time with us,” said the aquarium.