Atlantic Octopus

By Jamie Olijnyk

Atlantic Octopuses live in an aquatic environment. They have a few pressures when living in the water like being eaten. The octopus can be sensitive to things like temperature and their optimum body temperature is 16–21 °C. They can survive in very different habitats and can live up to 200m under the water.

Octopuses use cross- fertilization and reproduce externally. The males arm is called a hectocotylus; it is where all the sperm is held. To carry the sperm from the male to the females oviduct, the male can either insert his arm into her oviduct to transfer the sperm or he can take off his arm and the female will keep it in her mantle until she is ready to lay her eggs and once she does she just takes the arm out and spreads the sperm across the eggs she has laid to fertilize them. The female octopus can produce high numbers of eggs ranging from 100,000-500,000 per female but they can only reproduce once. A disadvantage of this type of reproduction process is that if the eggs do come under any harm, then they will all die not just 1. The octopuses can also not reproduce again so all this is a huge amount of waste. The benefit of reproducing externally is that the octopus can lay many eggs. If she reproduced internally, she would only be able to carry a limited amount of offspring.

The embryo develops externally. The Atlantic octopus uses a oviparity type of reproductive system. They create many offspring but their survival rate is not particularly high. This strategy is used because it requires less energy from the parent. It is common in sea animals and may mean there there is a better chance of some offspring surviving. The eggs also have a gestation period of 11 months, which would require a lot of energy and nutrition from the parent if they didn't develop externally.

The picture below is of a 16 day old embryo

The Atlantic octopus gives great parental care before the offspring are born but once they are, the parents disappear. What the octopuses don't realize until after mating is that they will both shortly die, the male a few months after mating and the female shortly after the eggs hatch. Until the eggs do hatch, the female will care for them by blowing currents across them to keep them clean and protecting them from any potential threats. They even go without food for 2-10 months before they hatch. r selection is the type of reproduce system it uses. This type of strategy has the disadvantage that once the eggs are hatched, they can not be protected by their parents but the advantage is that because they produce so many eggs, it is likley for some to survive.

interesting fact: Not many people know the plural of octopus, is is octopuses, octopi or octopodes?

Around the mid 17 hundreds was when the word octopus first turned up. Like most other English words the word octopus was given the English ending, octopuses.  But around that time there was a grammatical change and English was make to be more like Latin therefore making it octopi. But the thing is that octopus is a Greek word. The word octopus was then made to have the Greek ending, octopodes. The thing that was missed was that when you transfer a foreign word to English you give the word a English ending so the correct plural for octopus, it octopuses.


common octopus. 17 September 2013 .

Do octopus reproduce sexually or asexually? 16 September 2013 .

How Octopuses work. 17 September 2013 .

Is It 'Octopuses' Or 'Octopi'? Merriam-Webster Has The Answer In 'Ask An Editor'. 25 October 2010. 18 September 2013 .

Octopus aquaculture. 16 September 2013 .

What is the Gestation period of an Octopus, and How Many Babies Does it Produce? 31 March 2010. 17 September 2013 .

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