A. acuelatus aggression paper out


Haliphron Atlanticus
Staff member
Moderator (Staff)
Dec 31, 2003
Howdy folks- for those of you who have online journal access and are interested, we have a new paper out on aggression in octos. Sorry- I don't even have a pdf of it myself so can't sent reprints yet.

Male-male and male-female aggression may influence mating associations in wild octopuses (Abdopus aculeatus)- Journal of Comparative Psychology

Abdopus aculeatus engages in frequent aggression and copulation, exhibits male mate-choice, and employs multiple mating tactics. Here we draw upon established hypotheses to compare male–male aggression (MMA) and male–female aggression (MFA), as they relate to their mating behavior in the wild. When contesting for females, males appear to balance mate preference (resource value) with perceived chances of winning contests (resource holding potential). Although males spent more time mating with and contesting for large “Adjacent Guarded” females (those occupying a den within arm’s reach of a large “Adjacent Guarding” male), they exhibited higher rates of aggression over nonadjacent “Temporarily Guarded” females that may be more accessible. The major determinant of male-male aggressive success was size, and this factor may dictate the expression of conditional mating tactics in males. “Adjacent Guarding” males were the largest and most aggressively successful males, earning the most time copulating with females. They are considered to have the highest resource holding potential (RHP) in MMA. By contrast, in MFA, some larger individuals fled from smaller individuals, indicating that RHP appears to be a function of both size and sex in intersexual aggression. This result suggests variation in aggressiveness, or potential for severe injury—even sexual cannibalism during MFA. Male–female aggression may also be influenced by the sexual nonreceptivity of some individuals, or attempts by both sexes to increase foraging behavior by delaying mate-guarding activity. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved)
In the MFA, which sex is the most dangerously aggressive(causing damage or death)? I am assuming the female is the one causing damage since the male intent is to mate but I don't have access to the paper to read the entire write-up.
It's a toss up. MMA is more common and more commonly leads to grappling. But MFA involves grappling too, and we have seen cannibalism by a female (not sure of behavioral context beforehand though). So maybe MFA can be more dangerous but very rarely so.

Also- I now have the pdf. Email me if you want a copy.
So in the case of Male Female aggression, it is always the female who is the aggressor?

Did you see MFA only during attempted mating or also while foraging (or are they always hunting for mates so that there is no distinguishable difference)?

(emailed my PDF request)

I am still learning to read around the citations to get meaning and am always thankful when I reach the "discussion" part :oops:. During MMA, was there always a female present? I was left with that impression but not total sure I did not miss something.
Is there any evidence of "sneaker" males coming in a mating with a female while a couple of males are fighting over her or does she just chase anything away?
Sneaker males have on occasion mated with the female while the guarding male was around- but in general population densities where I've worked have been too low for this to be common. Only once have I seen three males fighting over a female at around the same time/place. Some matings took place, but in general distraction isn't a common tactic.

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