Monday August 28, 2023

Monterey Herald

Two miles under the ocean’s surface, in one final act, a lavendar-colored pearl octopus about the size of a grapefruit selects a nesting site. After gluing about 60 sausage-shaped eggs to that perfect rock, she positions her mantle — her bag-shaped body — atop her clutch of eggs, then drapes her arms backward around herself, tucking in both her babies and her vital organs for the long haul.

For the next several years, the expectant mother will brood — incubate her eggs — in the black, frigid water, battling predators but never abandoning her eggs. Not even to forage. She’ll expend every ounce of energy she’s got protecting that nest. And then she will die. With luck, she’ll make it until her eggs are fully developed and, as her body is scavenged by a hungry anemone or a shrimp, her hatchlings will emerge and disappear into the deep sea. And the circle of life will continue.

In 2018, deep-sea researchers stumbled upon a group of thousands of brooding pearl octopus (Muusoctopus robustus) at Davidson Seamount — an extinct underwater volcano just 80 miles southwest of Monterey. It was an astounding aggregation of the normally solitary creatures.

Read more >

Link copied successfully