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Mother octopus nourishes eggs for record breaking 4.5 years

Last Updated: Thursday, July 31, 2014 - 14:23

Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: A deep-sea octopus living in the deep waters of Monterey Submarine Canyon in central California has set an example of extreme parenting by protecting her eggs until they hatched 4.5 years later.

The scientists have termed it as the longest known egg-brooding period or pregnancy in the animal kingdom.
Researchers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), led by Bruce Robison have first spotted the mother octopus in April 2007.

The scientists returned to the site 18 times over 53 months to monitor egg development and measure the length of her brooding period from its inception.

Each time the researchers returned, they found the same octopus clinging to the vertical rock face, arms covering her eggs.
Continuous growth of the eggs led scientists to conclude that it was the same clutch throughout.

About 160 eggs hatched sometime between September and October 2011 - 53 months (almost 4.5 years) after the initial May 2007 sighting.

The last time the researchers saw the brooding octopus was in September 2011, but when they returned one month later, they found that the female was gone and the rock face octopus had occupied held the tattered remnants of empty egg capsules.

The study was published in the Public Library of Science (PLOS ONE).

(With Agencies Input)

First Published: Thursday, July 31, 2014 - 14:23

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