Blackpool Sea Life Centre is expecting a very appropriate new arrival today, on Valentine's Day, a creature with three hearts!

But staff are hoping that love has not featured in the life of their new star, a common octopus, because that would spell certain death.

"When boy meets girl in the octopus world it's always a tragedy," explained the centre's John Filmer.

"They both make the ultimate sacrifice for the greater cause of the survival of their species.

"The male puts his last energies into the act of mating and dies soon afterwards.

"Once the female lays her eggs she devotes herself exclusively to guarding those eggs, even refusing to eat, and dies of starvation soon after they hatch."

Small wonder then that the centre's marine experts are hoping their new arrival proves to be a youngster with no intimate experience of the opposite sex.

He or she, it's impossible to say which, will be joining the steadily growing cast of Suckers, the Centre's new £100,000 feature exhibition.

Though the leading light - a giant Pacific octopus - is not due to arrive until shortly before the official launch of Suckers at Easter, many of the co-stars are already in place and ready to be admired by visitors over the half-term holiday.

These include the incredible colour shifting cuttlefish, that can adopt the perfect skin pattern to camouflage itself against any background in a fraction of a second, and the nautilus, a primitive shell-clad member of the family.