Unique behaviors like beak-to-beak mating, den co-occupancy by a mating pair, extended spawning, and unique prey-capture were observed in captive larger Pacific striped octopus, according to a study published in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Roy Caldwell from University of California, Berkeley and colleagues from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, California Academy of Sciences, and Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.
These observations support previously recorded anecdotes from over thirty years-ago, which described these previously unknown behaviors for octopuses. The larger Pacific striped octopus is found in the eastern Pacific and identified by their semi-permanent strips and spots, but remains without a formal species description. In 2012-2014 the authors of the study were able to observe 24 captive adult Larger Pacific Striped Octopuses.
The authors observed behaviors previously unknown for octopuses, including beak-to-beak mating, co-occupancy of a den by a mating male and female pair, extended spawning, and unique pre-capture methods, supporting the observations made 30 years ago. While a species description of the octopus is forthcoming, observations of the larger Pacific striped octopus in the wild are needed to understand these unique behaviors outside of captivity.
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Citation: Caldwell RL, Ross R, Rodaniche A, Huffard CL (2015) Behavior and Body Patterns of the Larger Pacific Striped Octopus. PLoS ONE 10(8): e0134152. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0134152
Funding: Funding was provided to RLC by the University of California Museum of Paleontology. This funding group had no influence on the authors' study design, interpretation, or communication.
Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.