Egg brooding by deep-sea octopuses in the North Pacific Ocean

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2000
Authors:J. R. Voight, Grehan A. J.
Journal:Biological Bulletin
Date Published:Feb
ISBN Number:0006-3185
Accession Number:ISI:000085606500010

Videotapes made from the submersible Alvin on Baby Bare, a 2600-m-deep North Pacific basalt outcrop, and at two other deep-sea localities document that octopuses of the genera Graneledone and Benthoctopus attach their eggs to hard substrate and apparently brood them through development. The behavior of brooding females was generally similar to that of shallow-water octopuses, but the genera showed apparent differences. In addition to the high density of brooding females observed at Baby Bare, which may relate to the increased availability of exposed hard substrates for egg attachment and of prey, females are suggested to increasingly associate with hard substrates as they mature. The biology of Baby Bare may seem unduly unique because the outcrop is isolated on a sedimented plain and is among the few exposures of hard substrate other than hydrothermal vents that have been explored by submersible. On the sediment-covered ocean floor, the availability of hard substrate may strongly affect the distribution of brooding octopuses. The size and shape of boreholes in 19 of over 400 thyasirid clam shells collected from Baby Bare support the hypothesis that octopuses had preyed upon the clams.

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