Apr
03
2008

Octopuses after dark: The kinky, violent love lives playing out in our oceans

Wanna go back to my place?: Be careful of the octopuses you choose to keep company with. Certain species have been found to have murderous jealousy and sneaky cross-dressing males.Courtesy ccavinessThis is the sounds more like the stuff from trashy romance novels or reality TV, but it’s actually happening out in our oceans everyday with those pesky octopuses. At least it’s a case worthy of Law & Order SVU.
Researchers studying the abdopus aculeatus octopus living off the shores of Indonesia have been stunned by the mating habits to the species, which include violence and cross dressing.
The first sign of trouble among the orange-sized octopi, after having selected a mate the males would jealously guard them from the attentions of any other males, often getting into conflicts with them that resulted in battles to the death.
So how’s a red-blooded male abdopus aculeatus octopus going to get around that problem? Why not take the Bosom Buddies approach and try to pass your self off as another female.
The researchers saw that smaller males would try to get past larger males guarding a female by impersonating a female octopus by imitating female swimming movements and hiding the brown stripes that identify them as being male.
And what exactly does a male octopus find attractive in a female? The bigger the better. The larger the female is, the more eggs she’ll be able to produce and the more offspring the happy couple will be able to produce. Why is that so important? When the eggs hatch about a month after conception, both mother and father die as they’ve reached the end of their life span.
You couldn’t write this up in Hollywood, could you?
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Gene's picture
Gene says:

Mr. Grammar Man here to tell you that you got it right the first two times -- the plural of "octopus" is indeed "octopuses" -- but there is no such word as "octopi." You add "-i" to make a plural out of certain Latin words. "Octopus" is an English word, derived from the Greek "oktopous." In neither language would it take a Latin plural.

You're welcome! ;-)

posted on Fri, 04/04/2008 - 11:40am

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