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Study on Octopus Aging


Staff member
Sep 4, 2006
Gainesville, GA
Full English PDF discusses 1975 Italian experiments with O. vulgaris and additional notes of other experiments in 1977 to determine causes of octopus aging:


Notable quote:
Starvation, per se, does not lead to the apparently inevitable degenerative
changes seen in mature octopuses
The last concluding paragraph has me confused though:

Wodinsky (1977) has recently published the results of experiments in which the
optic glands were removed from mature Octopus hummelincki. The animals included
females that had laid and were brooding eggs. He found that the animals generally
abandoned their eggs, resumed feeding and growth and lived for considerably longer
than mature animals retaining the glands. A resumption of growth is, of course,
exactly what one would expect from the findings of the present series of experiments,
and it is nice to have this corroborative evidence, although from a different species.
All the evidence points to activation of the optic glands being an irreversible process,
so that the post-reproductive animals continue to waste away until they die.
of the optic glands has been tried several times in immature O. vulgaris (sec, for
examples, Buckley, 1977, Wells & Wells, 1972) and the animals survive well though
they have never been kept long enough to see vvhethei they will eventually exceed the
'normal' size at death.

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