Octopus sex

March 19, 2021 • 2:30 pm

Let’s end the work week with some animal behavior: in this case, octopus sex. I don’t even know how a male octopus determines that another individual is female!

The narration is pretty twee, but if the males really compete to see who has the bigger suckers, that would be fascinating.  And the arm that delivers sperm is pretty cool.

I wish the video were a bit more informative about biology, for even ZeFrank, funny as he is, has more useful information than does this National Geographic production, which seems dumbed down.

13 thoughts on “Octopus sex

  1. That octopied me enough, rubbish commentary and all. That is an interesting gene transfer mechanism, reminds me of conjugation gene transfer in bacterium but with sucker bragging rights.
    They are such smart creatures and most I know, like and are fascinated by them.

  2. I found the commentary really off-putting, to the extent that I couldn’t watch the whole clip. Ze Frank would have done a much better job. And “octopi” – really!

    1. I didn’t hear “octopi”, but the narrator had a really really annoying manner. Would love ZeFrank’s version.

  3. One of my undergraduate palaeontology textbooks described the copulation of the Argonauta (“paper nautilus”) as involving the male’s “hectocotylus” detaching and swimming towards the female, inserting into the pallial cavity of the female’s mantle and locking there to deliver it’s load of sperm. Clearly this information made an impression on the book’s author – and has made impressions on a generation of users of the textbook since. The phrase that stuck in my mind was “copulation by guided missile”. I can never watch a Cher video again with a straight face. (Not that I could before being introduced to the many and varied eyes of trilobites.)
    Hunting around, some of that information seems to come from Aristotle, some from Cuvier, and D’Arcy “On Growth and Form” Thompson has been added to the list of “usual suspects”. When this bloody pandemic is over, I feel a visit to Dundee in my future, for a good search through the records.
    It’s a very memorable phrase to put in an undergraduate text book. But it doesn’t seem to have done “Professor Trilobite Eyes” any harm career wise, even if I haven’t been able to find corroboration of the “swimming independently towards the female” aspect of it.

    That branch of the Mollusca have got some seriously weird anatomy.
    And behaviour.
    And when one stares you in the eye (through your diving mask), you know there is as much consciousness there as when a cat is watching you, contemplating your edibility.

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