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article imageStudy: Octopuses Lie, Cheat and Kill for Sex

By Chris V. Thangham     Apr 3, 2008 in Environment
Marine researchers from the University of California have found octopuses acting strangely wild and violent. They have found ample "jealousy murders," octopus spies and a rare sex encounter among the octopuses found in Indonesia.
Marine biologists observed these kinky behaviors off the coast of Indonesia. The scientists watched the Abdopus aculeatus octopus for several weeks. Unlike the captive octopuses which remain aloof and shy, the wild octopuses have marked behaviors.
The male octupus, the size of an orange, carefully hand-picks their mates and guards that territory vigorously. If a rival sneaks into their area, they use their 8- to 10-inch tentacles and kill them to death.
An Octopus in Indonesia
An Octopus in Indonesia
The researchers also observed smaller "sneakier" male octopuses putting on feminine airs, such as swimming girlishly near the bottom and keeping their male brown stripes hidden in order to win unsuspecting conquests.
And the males want the biggest female because the bigger the females are, the more fertile they are.
UC Berkeley biologist, Roy Caldwell, joint researcher for this project told Reuters: "If you're going to spend time guarding a female, you want to go for the biggest female you can find because she's going to produce more eggs…It's basically an investment strategy."
Once the male octupus chooses its mate, they have a once-in-a-lifetime sex encounter. And shortly after the female gives birth, a month after the conception, both the mother and father die.
Christine Huffard, the study’s lead author, noted it is not the sex that leads to their death; it is their short lifespan. They produce offspring only once in their brief lifetime.
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