Kinky Octopus Sex Startles Scientists
Aquariums apparently don't put them in the mood
By Lucas Laursen,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 2, 2008 11:06 AM CDT
A male octopus's hectocotylus, or mating arm (with pink lining), is inserted into the female's mantle.   (Roy L. Caldwell/UC Berkeley photos)
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(Newser) – Octopuses are sexier in the wild than in the aquarium, report stunned researchers who snorkeled among the frisky cephalopods for several weeks in Indonesia. Some Abdopus aculeatus males employ deceit, mimicking females with their changeable colors and sneaking up on them from the reef bottom. Others jealously guard their mates, fending off competition with a fatal multi-armed stranglehold.

The males were also more discerning than researchers suspected, showing a preference for larger females capable of laying more eggs. The hard-fought couplings do not last, alas, since the octopuses die within weeks of laying their eggs. What little was previously known about octopus mating came from those in captivity, which apparently doesn't put them in the same mood.