Octopus Egg Longevity
When LittleBit laid her eggs I removed them as soon as I saw them and I think they could not have been more than 21 hours old. I mentioned I wanted to remove them early to see if she would live out the rest of her life foraging instead of brooding (after the second day she stayed in her empty den until the end but did eat daily but smaller portions). I also wanted to see how long it took for the eggs to disintegrate so I placed them in a bowl of saltwater. They are still inflated and look no different then when I pulled them out of the tank (I even allowed the water to evaporate accidentally once), to date 38 days.
I asked Roy if he knew is the female partially existed on her eggs during hatching because of the need for water (in addition to the extreme length a female GPO can brood). He felt there was a very good chance they ate or destroyed infertile eggs but did not know of directly observed viable egg cannibalism or eggs that are produced just to supply food (someone help me with the name for this type of egg).
The fertile eggs that Mama Cass laid, disappeared throughout her brood and and quite rapidly near the end. Since none of the hatchlings survived more than a couple of days, she may have been aware that they were to be unsuccessful but they all had eyes and showed chromataphores so I don't believe they perished on their own. I had placed a small cluster of abandoned eggs outside the den for observation that broke open and disappeared in a couple of days.
The eggs of the two broods can't be compared since large egg group was and the small egg group was not. Additionally the fertile eggs were exposed to serpent stars in addition to the mother so she is not the only thing that could have eaten them. However, the serpent was in the tank when Mama Cass was born and we did not see the huge reduction in eggs near the end of Kooah's brood.
Just a little food for thought without any conclusions. If my squid eggs hatch, I plan to attempt to use these eggs as part of my floating food.