Rare footage of octopus mating on the reef in Papua New Guinea
Octopus are among the most intelligent of the invertebrates. They possess a surprising ability to solve problems and learn from watching other animals. Octopus also have impressive memory capability and they demonstrate the ability to remember things they have seen even before hatching from the egg. They are cephalopods, like squid and cuttlefish, possessing no bones, and they are able to alter their shape to squeeze into tiny spaces.
Male octopus have a specially adapted arm that is capable of depositing sperm in the female mantle. They meet on the reef, as these two have, and once they have mated, the male will experience a change in his metabolism that will bring his death within weeks. He will stop eating and perishes soon after. The female will undergo a similar metabolic change but she will survive long enough to lay eggs and care for them. Her nest will require aeration and cleaning to ensure that the eggs hatch. Once the female's brood emerge, she dies within days.
These two octopus lived on Elaine's Reef in Papua New Guinea. Sadly, they will have both passed on by the time this video is seen.
The reefs of PNG are alive with strange and beautiful creatures. These animals are able to change their colour and texture at will to match their surroundings. Masters of camouflage, they use this ability to hide from predators and also to sneak up on prey. They are skilled hunters and they are as powerful as they are intelligent. Seeing an octopus during the daylight is a rare treat for scuba divers, but to see two engaged in mating is a once in a lifetime experience.