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"If you neuter an octopus it will live longer" (hmmm)

Aug 10, 2006
Awhile back, I started a Pico reef tank and was posting the progress in another forum. I had explained as part of the setup that I used 3 gallons of water from my octopus tank. The post went from pico talk to Octo talk as a few were interested and hadn't before spoken to someone who had one. I explained a few things and of course directed them to this site. I hadn't checked it for quite awhile and someone had resurrected my old thread with this:

"found out that if you neuter an octopus it will live longer, somethings about its reproductive cycle causes it to die.....believe thats what seaworld does.....LOL good luck on that!"

Now, I know this has been discussed here before about a year ago and a few other places that I've seen but does anyone really know about this? All I can find is speculation. I would never try this of course for many many reasons but I am curious to know if it has been tried by any scientists or researchers studying Octopus longevity. I'm gonna try to find out where this poster heard this, especially the bit about if seaworld has attemped this. I know most would say it can't be done due to stress, surgery, anesthesia, their delicate nature, and lots of other factors such as the reproductive system having nothing to do with their lifespan, but does anyone know any truth to this? I'm not looking for speculation, I'm looking for fact. Has it been done!?!


Staff member
Nov 19, 2002
A giant nautiloid fossil was found in Arkansas a few years ago and it was speculated then that the reason it got so large was that it was castrated by parasitic nematodes, like some living gastropods, never reaching sexual maturity it kept growing. After that there was speculation on these forums (I cant find the thread) that maybe neutering an octopus would make it live longer...


TONMO Supporter
Staff member
Mar 8, 2004
I remember reading some about the removal of the optic gland(?) stopping sexual maturity and therefore increasing lifespan, too. I found a cryptic reference related to this in Hanlon & Messenger (p.97) but I'm pretty sure I read something more specific, maybe in Nixon & Young? Unfortunately, it's major brain surgery to remove the optic gland, so it's probably not something that can be done reasonably for pets.

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