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The female reproductive cycle of the octopus, Eledone cirrhosa

  • P. R. Boyle (a1) and Daniela Knobloch (a1)


Changes in the relative size of the ovary, oviducal glands and eggs are described for Eledone cirrhosa captured from the North Sea off Aberdeen over a 3 year period (N = 488). The analysis is based only on freshly caught animals, excluding those held in aquarium conditions (> 5 days). Ovary enlargement and egg size estimates are used as indices of sexual maturity. Between 0–15% and 18–95% of total body weight is contributed by the ovary. Maximum egg length in the ovary ranges up to 7 mm. On these criteria, sexual maturation typically occurs at body sizes between 400–1000 g although some animals of 1000–1200 g are found showing no evidence of ovary enlargement. The majority of the monthly sample is always immature but maturation can apparently occur at almost any time of the year. Increase in mean ovary index and mean values for egg size are strongly seasonal and indicate a peak incidence of sexual maturity over 2–3 months in the July-September period. Spawning is presumed to follow within 1 month. Estimates of the fecundity of the females, based on the egg sample from the ovary, range from 2·2 × 103 to 55 × 10 3 eggs with a mean of 11 × 10 3 and a mode of 7·5 × 10 3 eggs.



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The female reproductive cycle of the octopus, Eledone cirrhosa

  • P. R. Boyle (a1) and Daniela Knobloch (a1)


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