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Cephalopod Eggs - Large and Small


Staff member
Sep 4, 2006
Gainesville, GA
Up until recently it has been observed that octopuses (and most shellless cephs) lay eggs only once than die shortly after hatching. @Neogonodactylus and @Thales have worked with two related species of octopus (Greater and Lesser - O. chierchiae Pacific Striped Octopus) that produce multiple clutches of eggs throughout their lives. It now appears that another species with this strategy has been uncovered.

Reproduction in rare bathyal octopods Pteroctopus tetracirrhus and Scaeurgus unicirrhus (Cephalopoda: Octopoda) in the east Mediterranean as an apparent response to extremely oligotrophic deep seas.
Vladimir Laptikhovskya, Alp Salman, Bahadir Önsoy, Meryem Akalin, Beytullah Ceylan

Reproductive patterns of two benthic bathyal octopods, Pteroctopus tetracirrhus and Scaeurgus unicirrhus have been studied in extremely nutrient-poor environment of the deep-sea Eastern Mediterranean. Both species were found to exhibit a reproductive tactics of producing eggs much larger than in the western part of the sea which likely results in larger hatchlings with higher viability. P. tetracirrhus exhibited a typical “deep-sea” spawning strategy of simultaneous maturation of a single batch of large eggs with atresia of excessive oocytes, whereas reproductive strategy of S.unicirrhus is particular for shelf octopodids: asynchronous maturation of numerous batches of small eggs with no obvious regulatory atresia. Existence of these two types of ovary development and utilisation of fecundity are closely related to two types of evolutionary stable reproductive strategies based on existence of either very large or very small eggs with a few species occupying the “intermediate” position.
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