Sex life of the blue-ringed octopus

phys.org | 4/16/2018 | Staff
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What one of the world's most venomous marine creatures gets up to after dark.

The sex life of one of WA's most iconic marine species is under the spotlight in a new study of the mating behaviour of blue-ringed octopuses.

Researchers - Animals - Lab - Male - Octopuses

The researchers watched the animals mating in the lab and worked out which male octopuses were successful in passing on their genes.

They discovered that longer sex isn't better for male octopuses wanting to become fathers.

Matter - Male - Encounter

What does matter is whether the male or female ends the encounter.

They also found that the species' unusual sperm storage strategy could be a way to avoid inbreeding.

Things - Sex

First, a few things you need to know about octopus sex.

When octopuses mate, one of the eight arms on the male octopus acts as a **** and is inserted into the female's mantle.

Octopuses - Packets - Matings

Female octopuses are able to store sperm packets from multiple matings.

They use sperm from different males to fertilise a single clutch of eggs.

Mystery

But how this works is largely a mystery.

Some scientists believe sperm competition is behind which male octopuses get to pass on their genes.

Others - Form - Female - Choice - Play

Others have suggested some form of cryptic female choice is at play, with the mother determining which male octopuses father her babies.

In the latest study, scientists collected 36 wild blue-ringed octopuses from Cockburn Sound and paired them in the lab.

Female - Male - Advances - Mating

They recorded whether the female was receptive to the male's advances, how long the mating lasted and which...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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