For most octopuses, mating is a dicy endeavor. Primarily because, as cannibals, a mate can also double as dinner. So when biologist Richard Ross watched two larger Pacific striped octopuses come together for the first time, sucker-to-sucker–and beak to beak–he was more than a little anxious.
But these rare octopuses were just doing what they seem to do best: mating. And then laying eggs. Lots and lots of clutches of them.
Now Ross and his colleagues are racing to keep the hatchlings from the many eggs alive in captivity before they lose their entire population of these unusual octopuses.
Read more in my first piece for National Geographic‘s news site here.
I got to see these octopuses up close and in person last year at the California Academy of Sciences, and they are truly amazing. (Although don’t let their name fool you–they’re really quite tiny.)
And learn more about other octopuses’ bizarre mating rituals in my book, Octopus! The Most Mysterious Creature In the Sea.
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