Thursday, 22 March 2012 By: Jenny Vu

#13 Just For Her Eggs

There seems to be so many dedicated mothers out there. One of them lives in the deep sea of the pacific ocean, the Giant Pacific octopus. The male octopuses can weigh up to 40kg, but there was one record of a 182kg monster. The giant pacific octopus was thought to be the longest living octopus with a life expectancy of 3-5 years. However, this is still not a long time to live and so, a giant octopus has to grow quickly if it is to breed before it dies.

Source: zoo-animalplanet.blogspot.com.au

Once a male has inserted his sperm package into a females oviducts, it is up to her to find a maternity den with a small opening, under a large rock. She crawls into the opening, reaching her arm out, pulling in the surrounding rocks to seal the opening. On the roof of the den, she lays each egg, fertilising them as they pass through her reproductive tract. She then weaves and glues about 200 eggs into a bunch on the roof of the den with her saliva and suckers near her mouth. In about 3 weeks, she has spun together about 20,000 to 100,000 eggs.

Photo taken by FRED BAVENDAM Source: nationalgeographicstock.com

For about 6-7 months, she looks after her eggs, grooming them constantly to prevent bacteria and algae growing on them. This means that she can't leave to find food. If she did, the eggs would become easy prey to any predators like crabs and fish and so, she slowly starves. One night, the eggs begin to hatch and the female jets water over them, making it easier for the hatchlings to break free. Once all of the youngsters have exited, the female leaves the den to die. She has sacrificed her life for brood and for the continuation of the species.

Cute baby octopus taken by Vancouver Aqaurium Source: practicalfishkeeping.co.uk
I hope you've enjoyed this :). All my info was from Life, the BBC book about extraordinary animals and extreme behaviour by Martha Holmes and Michael Gunton.


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