Surfing The Wierd

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Octopus Sex Life

PHOTO IN THE NEWS: Wild Octopuses Have Complex Sex

Octopi having wild sex -- photo

April 3, 2008—A male octopus (right) deposits a sperm packet into a female in this photo taken during a field study and released on Monday.

The study found that wild octopuses engage in "jealous murders," gender bending, and once-in-a-lifetime sex—unlike their seemingly shy, unromantic captive brethren.

The University of California, Berkeley, scientists watched the baseball-size Abdopus aculeatus octopus species off Indonesia for several weeks and published their findings recently in the journal Marine Biology.

The team witnessed picky, macho males carefully select mates. The octopuses would then guard their newly domesticated digs jealously—occasionally going so far as to use their 8- to 10-inch (20- to 25-centimeter) tentacles to strangle romantic rivals to death.

"This is not a unique species of octopus, which suggests others behave this way," said Berkeley biologist Roy Caldwell, who co-authored the new study.

The researchers also observed smaller males put on feminine airs. Some would keep their brown stripes—a male trait—hidden, perhaps to lull females into a false sense of safety before setting the scene for "seduction."

(Related photo: "Six-Legged 'Hexapus' Found" [March 5, 2008].)

Photograph by Roy L. Caldwell/UC Berkeley >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

PHOTO IN THE NEWS: Six-Legged "Hexapus" Discovered

Hexapus, six-legged octopus, picture

March 5, 2008—Six of one, half a dozen of another—it's all the same for this odd octopus.

Caretakers at a British aquarium recently discovered that one of its newest residents, an octopus named Henry, had six legs instead of the usual eight.

Workers at the Blackpool Sea Life Centre first noticed that Henry was—as it were—two feet short, as he was crawling up the wall of his glass tank.

Aquarium officials dubbed the creature a hexapus, saying he's the first of his kind ever documented.

"We've scoured the Internet and talked to lots of other aquariums, and no one has ever heard of another case of a six-legged octopus," aquarium supervisor Carey Duckhouse told the AFP news service.

The sea creature, technically known as a lesser octopus, was first found in a lobster trap off the coast of Wales two weeks ago.

The cephalopod's deficient limbs appear to be the result of a genetic mutation rather than an accident, and the animal doesn't represent a new species, experts said.

Henry will go on public display in about a month, and visitors will be able to see that he gets along just fine with what he has, officials added.

"He's a lovely little thing," an aquarium spokesperson told AFP.

Photograph courtesy Blackpool Sea Life Centre



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