Have you ever seen octos mating?


Nov 9, 2003
I just want to know how lucky I should feel. While I was working on Big Red, I spent a lot of time at the Monterey Bay Aquarium observing the movements of the GPOs. Just around the corner from them was a smaller display of o. rubescens.

In Febuary of 2004, I went to get a better idea of how the interbrachial membrane moves. I was hoping to catch them feeding, but what I caught was beyond my wildest expectations.

On arriving, I walked directly to the GPOs. As soon as I was in view, I noticed one of them moving towards the glass. For those of you that haven't been there, at the time there were two separate tanks with a GPO each. I knew that the one on the left was a female, because she was very active. But the one on the right, the one moving towards the glass, was always hiding in the back whenever I was there and was rather pale. I had heard the volunteers comment that it had something to do with the lighting, but as I settled next to the glass to have a look, I realized that it was just old. The skin over the eyes nearly sagged over the top of them, so it could barely see. As it settled into the corner against the glass, manuevered itselft just so, and I saw the ligula. It's a boy!! And he just flashed me!!

I nearly leaped out of my clothes. Three friggin' years I had spend trying to get pictures of that arm from every source I could think of so that I could tick that off the list of things to finish on Big Red. I kept telling everyone that came to the exhibit about it, but nobody could really share my excitement.

It started to get a little crowded, so I backed off for a while to let others get close to it. So I walked around the corner to have a look at the little red octos. As usual, I had to point out to nearly everyone where they were hiding. The weird thing was that two of them were really close. One was hiding in an empty barnacle shell, and another was stationed just outside of it with one arm stretched out into the shell. I thought to myself, "That's funny. Looks like the third arm on the right. I wonder if there getting it on?" I kept on watching, and I finally saw the one on the outside pull it's arm out, really fast, but I could tell that it was a male. I cursed under my breathe at how lucky I was.

Within a minute or two, I saw him stick his am back into the shell, and I could just see it entering the mantle of the other one. Her breathing seemed to get a little labored, not surprising since she had an arm over her gills. A couple minutes latter, I watched his arm tense up and then spasm, seconds later, a small cloud of white flotsam squirted out of her siphon. His arm stayed there for a while, and then went through the same routine again.

I couldn't believe that I was seeing all of this in one day, so I kept going back and forth, trying to get a good impression in my head of the hecto'ed arm so that I could make it later on. Every time I checked on the lovers, they were still at it. I let one of the guards know so that he could tell the staff about it, and one of them came out, but seemed only slightly interested. So I figured that it happened pretty often, but I was a little disappointed.

They kept at it for at least an hour and half, after that I just couldn't take it anymore. I had to celebrate my good fortune with a beer.

Anyway, I'm just wondering if I am STILL over-excited about it and I'm just a little off my rocker, or if it's really pretty cool.
but still a interesting question that never popped into my brain before.

pipsquek, you sure are lucky. I've never seen octos doing it, but I've seen octo eggs in a octo jar ( a jar where octos live)

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