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Daily Strange: The anti-romantic octopus

Photo Credit: BBC Earth

Written by Ivey Ingalls-Rubin, Staff Writer

Octopuses sure are strange creatures. From being proclaimed as the most intelligent of all invertebrates to being known to carry “toys” and have individual responses and temperaments. The most intriguing of the octopuses’ traits however lies within its sex habits.

Next time you come across an octopus tentacle, keep in mind that you may very well be looking at one of its arms, or very easily, his penis.

While the sex organ tentacle can’t truly be classified as a penis, in many species it does fill with blood and become erect very much like a human’s when stimulated. Regardless of the species, the initial process is the same.

A male octopus attaches sperm to his sex tentacle and then places the sperm in a slot of the females body used for procreation. In each and every species, the male’s organ then stays embedded within the female’s body. Our poor fellow does not get to regrow his sex tentacle and will die within a month or so.

Now this all seems just fine and dandy in context with how the animal world typically mates, but in one species of octopus in particular, things really get bizarre.

For example, the Paper Nautilis has a detachable penis tentacle. When he is ready to mate he will allow it to detach from his body and swim – by itself—up to the female where it will find its own way into her gill slit.

Another peculiar octopus is the Blanket Octopus who has a similar inconspicuous mating practice. The male, which just so happens to be 40,000 times smaller than his female counter part, will approach his woman of choice, stick his mating arm to a random part of her body and then leave, to die elsewhere.

This lucky female seldom even notices the encounter, even though the arm is left behind to wander her body until it finds the gill slit. There the tentacle will wait until her eggs are matured. It is at this point that the female will locate the arm, tear open the sperm packet and ever so delightfully sprinkle its contents over her eggs.

She does so in the same fashion that one would sprinkle sugar into their morning coffee. Meanwhile, her most unobtrusive mate will most certainly be dead.

To learn more about the bizarre habits of the octopus please visit HERE

Also, learn about the plural use of the word octopus here:

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