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spaying neutering octopuses?!


Jul 17, 2006
"Oh, and btw, I've read that octopus only last a few months if you don't have them spayed/neutered? Just thinking that you might wanna reconsider the octopus..."

(quoted form an aquariacentral forum)

im well aware of octopuses having short lifespans, but i have never heard of spaying and neutering octopuses. Is it even possible? would it stop them from brooding?
Most of this talk stems from a couple of papers: "Hormonal Inhibition of Feeding and Death in Octopus: Control by Optic Gland Secretion" from 1977 that appeared in Science and "Optic gland implants and their effects on the gonads of Octopus" from 1975 that appeared in the Journal of Experimental Biology. They involved removal of the Optic gland which, if I understand correctly, is an endocrine gland that plays a role in controlling sexual maturation in octopuses, potentially delaying it and prolonging the lifespan. This isn't really spaying or neutering, and it isn't an option for a pet octopus. There is likely a cascade of other systems effected by the optic gland. In addition, I have heard (so don't quote me on this) that researchers since those publications have had alot of trouble reproducing those results. If I am way off base with any of this, please someone correct me.
Kirt Onthank
I guess it could be possible to spay/neuter an octopus but its not realistic. The best way to have an octopus live a long time is to get a captive raised/breed one that you know the age of and/or get a species that would naturally live longer (a cool water species like bimac, etc.).
This has come up a few times, it sounds like someone read about it but didn't remember the details so well... removing the optic gland is pretty extreme brain surgery, so I've never heard of any vet who could be paid to do it, nor anyone who's tried it in any context other than research.

Searching the forums for "optic gland" will show a lot more detailed discussion.

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