How do octopuses reproduce? If you think about it, you'll realize that it's actually kind of strange. They aren't mammals, so they don't give birth like whales. You may be surprised to know that octopuses actually lay eggs. What does it look like when an octopus gives birth? Find out here! Discover just how weird looking octopus eggs are, and how fascinating it is to watch them hatch.
Octopus eggs hatching is a beautifully bizarre process that almost looks otherworldly. Perhaps that's because octopus reproduction takes place in some of the most mysterious habitats on earth. Octopus facts reveal that male octopuses use a special arm for reproduction. They insert this arm into a female's oviduct, and in some species, the male loses the arm, which the female keeps until she lays eggs.
The process of laying eggs, caring for them, and their eventual hatching is one of the most labor and time intensive feats in the animal world. These brilliant and devoted cephalopod mothers and their young deserve some credit for their hard work. Check out details about octopus reproduction below to see some awesome and ethereal images of the mysteries of the ocean.
Octopus Eggs Are Laid In Unique Looking Clusters
Octopus egg clusters are one of the oddest looking structures in the animal kingdom. They don't come out looking like that - rather, the mother has to collect her floating eggs and string them together to keep them close to one another. Over a period as long as a month, the octopus mother will create the structure as she slowly makes individual eggs.
Eggs Need Constant Maintenance To Survive
Once the eggs are all together, the mother sets to work on keeping them healthy. This is extremely hard for for the female octopus, who takes on the monumental task all by herself. She is responsible for defending her eggs from potential predators and from keeping parasites and other harmful organisms from latching onto the egg sacs. She is constantly wiping them down with her tentacles and she uses her water siphon to gently blow oxygenated water across her eggs. This ensures that the eggs have a constant supply of oxygen because they could suffocate in stagnant water.
Most Octopus Mothers Die For Their Eggs
Octopuses have one of the most depressing reproduction cycles of all animals, one that always ends on a down note. Octopus mothers refuse to eat during the weeks and months that they spend watching over their brood. They won't even take advantage of easy meals, as some scientists discovered while trying to feed a brooding octopus.
The mothers spend all of their energy taking care of their eggs, usually dying just after the eggs hatch. Her last gift to her babies is to gently blow them into the open water, where they will begin their new lives.