Saturday, April 21, 2018

Why Did These Beautiful Doomed Octopuses Pick Such An Inhospitable Place To Nurse Their Eggs?

Image: Phil Torres, Dr. Geoff Wheat

In 2013, geochemists sent underwater vehicles to explore the Dorado Outcrop, a rocky patch of seafloor off the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. Two miles below the waves they found hundreds of beautiful purple octopus mamas huddled around the vents, incubating their eggs. They belonged to an undiscovered species in the genus Muuscoctopus  which are known to be loners, yet these were grouped together in dense clusters.
The group was doomed. Muuscoctopus only breed once in their life, producing eggs, protecting them and dying once their offspring swim away. But why did these mothers choose a spot that could not support their eggs?

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