Just in time for Valentine's Day 2012, Dr. Roy Caldwell shared some astonishing photos of two mating A. aculeatus. Note that these images are very rare and the quality is high.

Photos may not be reused without permission

Sea of Love

An Abdopus aculeatus male perches on a rock keeping an eye out for a passing female. He displays his dark, enlarged suckers signaling that he is a male and flashes a characteristic brown stripe that says he is ready for action.


Cue the burlesque music

A sharp-eyed female spots him and starts to approach. She knows what she wants and knows how to get it...



So do you come here often?

The male moves in and reaches out to make contact. The female flashes a web display in response. This is going well!


Enough of the small talk...

Here we see the smaller male engaging with the larger female. Roy observed the female's "passing cloud displays" during the process. Could such a display be a depiction of physical pleasure, like waves of excitement? Hmm, this is getting voyeuristic... Let's just observe in the name of science and not go too deep into their sexual psyche...


The male makes his move.

In order to place a packet of sperm into the female, the male uses his modified third right arm called the hectocotylus. Here we see him feeling for the genital opening located inside her mantle cavity to insert the tip of the hectocotylus.


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