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From brooding to hatching: new insights from a female Octopus vulgaris in the wild

  • Manuel E. Garci (a1), Jorge Hernández-Urcera (a1), Miguel Gilcoto (a1), Raquel Fernández-Gago (a2), Ángel F. González (a1) and Ángel Guerra (a1)...


A brooding Octopus vulgaris female was monitored for 128 days in her natural habitat. The main reproductive events and embryonic development in relation to the temperature inside the spawning den, which was recorded by long-battery-life mini-data loggers, are described in the wild. The den temperature ranged from 12.9 to 19.3°C. The total number of egg strings was 160, and the total number of eggs spawned ranged between 139,040 and 241,760 (mean 190,400). The brooding period, the egg laying interval and the duration of the hatching course lasted 128, 35 and 43 days, respectively. Both egg laying and hatching were intermittent processes. The time taken for embryonic development was variable (85–128 d) and depended on the laying date, temperature and position of the string in the egg cluster and the position of the egg in the egg string. The first hatching observed occurred after a progressive and gradual increase of the temperature from 14.9 to 19.3°C. The 280 min of video recordings taken by scuba divers showed that several times, this female opened and closed a small window in the obstructions of the den entrance to facilitate a way out for the hatchling batches.


Corresponding author

Correspondence should be addressed to: A. Guerra, Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas (CSIC), Eduardo Cabello 6, 36208 Vigo, Spain email:


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