Romantic interlude between two octopus will sadly cause their deaths
For scuba divers, it is a rare and wonderful treat to see an octopus out in the open. They are nocturnal hunters that prefer seclusion, and venturing out in the daylight is not a common occurrence. Incredibly intelligent and possessing surprising strength, they are adapted to be ferocious predators. Their problem solving and ability to learn is among the greatest in the animal kingdom.
The sight of octopus mating is even more rare. This diver filmed a male octopus coming out from his lair under chunk of coral to cautiously approach a nearby female. He carefully extended one of his arms that has a specially adapted portion at the end, to place spermatophores into the female's oviduct. The octopus must always keep in mind that this close contact with the female may not be accepted and he could also be viewed as food.
One of the reasons that it is rare to see octopus mating is that each will only do this once in their life. Shortly after mating, the male's metabolism changes and he will stop eating. He dies a few weeks or months after reproducing. The female will incubate the eggs for approximately 40 days. She then lays the eggs in a string under a crevice and tends to them daily for five months. This can be much longer in colder water. She must aerate and clean the eggs or they will not hatch. The female will not feed during this time. She will also die of starvation soon after the eggs hatch.
As sad as this is, it is the natural life cycle of the octopus. Generally, they live approximately six months to five years. In scientific experiments, removal of the optic gland, responsible for reproductive maturity, will cause the lifespan of the octopus to be much longer.