Maori Octopus - The moms care for their young
The stunning Maori Octopus, scientifically named Octopus maorum (Octopodidae) is the Australia’s largest octopus found in New Zealand and southern Australia, with an armspan that reaches over three meters.
The body is oval-shaped and the eyes are large. The arms are long and muscular, the front pair being the longest and broadest. They are around 4 to 6 times the body length, each with two rows of suckers. The skin is covered in scattered large fingers of skin forming a spiky appearance in some postures.
Observations on captive specimens indicate that females exhibit maternal care. Two weeks prior to laying eggs females stop feeding, then once the females lay eggs (approx. 5000-7000) these are constantly cared for, with the female frequently cleaning and constantly guarding the eggs. She uses two or more tentacles to sweep the eggs with slow, radial and undulating movements along each tentacle, probably as an aeration function. Brooding duration is between 51 and 59 days.
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Photo: ©Peter Fuller
Locality: Pt. Lonsdale, Bellarine Peninsula, Victoria, Australia