|Treats from last weekend - and more octopus|
Posted by Merry on September 26, 2012 at 13:58:32:|
Last weekend, Phil and I were treated to 3 uncommon sights, all of which are included in this report.
We tend to think of our East Pacific red octopus, Octopus rubescens, as a shy slithering shape, blending with any relief it finds on the sandy bottom. However, the little octopus leads an even more tenuous existence in the planktonic stage before it settles and acquires its cryptic capabilities.
A withering mother octopus guards her festoons of pearly-white eggs, which are barely 4mm long. One study reports that she lays 80% of the eggs within 5 days. Only the mother octopus, a well-hidden den, and a thin chorion protect the developing embryo.
The brick-red eyes in the first photo appear around stage 25. Three weeks after that photo was taken, Walter Marti caught the very beginning of the hatching period.
Original drawing by Jordi Corbera, taken from Biology of the Planktonic Stages of Benthic Octopuses. Roger Villanueva & Mark D. Norman. Oceanography and Marine Biology: An Annual Review, 2008, 46, 105-202
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