Dedicated Mothers

Octopuses are amazing creatures. They are highly intelligent invertebrates with incredible camouflage abilities and are vicious predators, even killing and consuming its own kind!


A Day octopus (Octopus cyanea) somewhere in South East Asia. Photo credit.

Solitary most of its adult life, only during the mating season will an octopus tolerate another. Once the male has “done the deed”, he leaves the female. The female will then lay her eggs after a few days, but she does not abandon her clutch of eggs.

She broods her eggs until they hatch. This means that she is not actively hunting for food, starving herself to make sure that nobody bothers her babies. She also keeps her eggs clean by “blowing” on the eggs, dirt removed by water movement. This meticulous brooding of eggs can last two to eight months, depending on the species of octopus.


A clutch of octopus eggs. Photo credit.

This mother will probably die from starvation once her eggs start to hatch. Larger hatchlings could possibly feed on their dedicated mother, who did this so that at least 1% of her eggs can grow up to be a productive adult.

The longest brooding animal in the world, is a deep sea octopus. One female brooded her eggs for 53 months in the same spot at almost 1,400m below the sea surface.


Tags: nature