Octopus Hank turned out to be a lady

Octopus Hank turned out to be a lady

It was found out when the alleged male laid an egg-mass. To determine the sex of the giant Pacific octopus is extremely difficult. Such a large and powerful animal can simply curl up and will not allow it to be done.

Hank, a 12-kilogram octopus was caught two months ago in waters of Russkiy island, got his nickname when he managed to pull off the mounts from the mesh of the aquarium and got out.

Cephalopod mollusks, to which the giant octopus belongs, are monocyclic. This means, they breed only once in a life, and having executed this mission, usually meet their fate. The most famous example of the monocyclic species for the Far East is the Pacific salmon. However, most marine fishes, on the contrary, are polycyclic which can spawn several times.

It is possible that Hank's egg-mass has already been fertilized. Females of the Pacific octopus, have an internal fertilization. The tentacle of a male (hectocotylus) with a gonadal sac (spermatophore) gets separated from the mantle cavity of the father, and gets transferred to the mantle cavity of the mother. Mating occurs in advance, before fertilization.

Before, people believed that hectocotylus is a separate animal. Even Georges Cuvier, who first described it, considered him an independent being. Hectocotylus is equipped with a very complex system of nerves, with total length of which is 10 times the length of the cephalopod mollusk.

At the moment, our specialists are closely observing Hank. Laying eggs in the vertical rock cavity of her aquarium, the female protects the egg-mass for days. The maturation of eggs goes for about four months. All this time, the animal practically does not eat anything and loses a very large amount of energy.

For reference:

  • Giant octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini). Usual weight is 1-10 kg. But registered specimens weighing up to 50 kg.
  • Each tentacle has 200-300 suckers.
  • Can live at a depth of 750 meters and travel up to 4 kilometers a day.
  • Live span is about 4 years.
  • Unlike most mollusks, octopuses are dioecious. After mating, the males die, and the females stop producing digestive enzymes, so they stop eating for good. That’s how nature has taken care of that the octopuses don’t eat their offsprings.