© SWNSLabros Hydras with his daughter Areti and son Arion with the six legged octopus or hexapus.
Labros Hydras, 49, pulled the 'hexapus' from the sea while snorkelling in Greece, and following local tradition he smashed it against a rock to kill it before taking it to a nearby tavern to cook.

But after the chef refused to cook the rare animal, the father-of-two fried it for himself before doing some research and realising what he had done.

Mr Labros, a mechanical engineer living in Washington DC, said he was "horrified" when he found out what he had eaten.

"I wanted to find out more, but there was no internet where we were", Mr Labros said.

"I then called my friend who is a biologist and he told me it was true and I was horrified.

"Now I want to pursue the scientific angle to make scientists aware of the existence of the wild hexapus.

"It is the least that I can do given my ignorance and guilt that I feel for killing such a rare animal."

Until five years the six-legged octopus was unknown, when a specimen was found off the North Wales coast.

Mr Labros said after eating the rare octopus with a slice of tomato, lemon, and salad, he now wants to help experts in Greece with what he can remember of the catch on Papa Nero beach on the Pelion peninsula.

Mr Labros, who was snorkelling with his daughter Areti, 10, and his son Arion, six, said: "It tasted just like a normal octopus but now I feel really bad.

"When we caught it, there was nothing to suggest it was any different or had been damaged.

"I thought it had just been born with six tentacles.

"We go to Greece every year and when we catch an octopus we do the same thing so we just did not think about it."

The six-legged 'hexapus' is the result of a natal abnormality and is not a new species, according to biologists.

Professor Matt Bentley, a Professor of Marine Biology at Newcastle University, said: "It is rare to find an octopus like this.

"There is every possibility it could have grown an abnormality in early development.

"But there is nothing to suggest it that it is a different species.

"Another explanation is it could have been injured and has healed very well over time."