Skip to main content.

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
Website Search Box

Wood, J.B., E. Kenchington, and R.K. O'Dor

Reproduction and embryonic development time of Bathypolypus arcticus, a deep-sea octopod (Cephalopoda: Octopoda).
Malacologia, 39(1-2): 11-19.

ABSTRACT: Mating, brooding, and embryonic development rate of Bathypolypus arcticus, a deep-sea octopod, are described. Live specimens of B. arcticus were collected in the Bay of Fundy, Canada, and kept in a flow-through system in the lab. Two of the octopods laid and brooded viable eggs. Brooding and embryological development took over a year at average temperatures of 7.3 oC and 7.8 oC. Brooding females ate occasionally and left their eggs shortly before dying. Hatchlings weighed 208 ± 17 (SD) mg from the first batch and 283 ± 20 (SD) mg from the second batch. There was no evidence of multiple spawning. Mating of B. arcticus was also observed. The usually smaller male sits upon the female, enveloping much of the female's mantle in his web, and he inserts his large ligula into her mantle. One or two large spermatophores are transferred by a combination of mantle pumping and arm groove peristalsis. A filmed mating sequence lasted 140 seconds.

Hatching1 Figs. 2-5: Hatching.
The pressure in the swollen egg pushes out the end of the mantle. The then hatchling frees himself from the egg, and a fully functional octopus emerges.
AVI video (1,290 Kb)
MPEG video (744 Kb)

Hatching2 A second hatching sequence not shown in text figures.
AVI video (1,255 Kb)
MPEG video (707 Kb)

Mating Figs. 6-11: Mating.
The male octopus (foreground) sees the female and pounces on her. He mounts her and inserts his ligula into her mantle cavity. The male stretches his mantle dramatically, presumably to help pump the spermatophore to his ligula. The male removes his ligula and departs.
AVI video (1,335 Kb)
MPEG video (851 Kb)

[ TOP ]