Playful octopus tops poll of favourite species at Torquay's Living Coasts

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By PGStrange | Tuesday, February 19, 2013, 13:35

THE PLAYFUL octopus has topped a poll of favourite species at Torquay's Living Coasts...

To mark the coastal zoo and aquarium's tenth birthday, staff and volunteers voted for their favourite top ten. The "playful and mischievous" octopus came in at number one.

Alongside the obvious crowd-pleasers like the penguins and seals, staff at Living Coasts have highlighted the variety of unusual species at Torquay's coastal zoo and aquarium.

The octopus topped the poll. Living Coasts keeper Lee Mach explained why he voted for it. "Octopus are beautiful and smart with great personalities," he said. "They're playful and mischievous as well as mysterious."

After that came macaroni penguin and fur seal. African penguin and bank cormorants were the only other birds on the final list. Otter and leopard gecko featured, as did puffer fish, upside down jellyfish and mudskippers.

Spokesperson Phil Knowling said: "It might surprise people who think Living Coasts is just about birds, because the top ten is made up of four marine species, three bird species, two mammals and a reptile! A total of 99 votes were cast. We had votes for 22 different species, including eight marine species and 11 sorts of bird."

Upside-down jellyfish

Educator Mark Hancock added: "I voted for upside-down jellyfish because there is a great story to tell about them – the symbiotic relationship between the jellyfish and the algae that live within. And bank cormorants, because of the great conservation message, their great displays - and they are fun when they come to the penguin feed!"

Just outside the top ten were four-eyed fish, Inca terns and seahorses. Describing another of his choices, keeper Lee Mach said of the seahorse, "It's amazing how such an elegant and fragile creature can survive in the sea."

Living Coasts is marking its tenth birthday with a series of events themed around the number ten. Visitors will be able to vote for their own top ten Living Coasts animals during February half term.

More pictures: The top ten species in full



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