Female Eledone cirrhosa held in aquarium conditions for periods of time of five daysand over show relatively enlarged ovary sizes. Values for ovary index considerably exceed thoseof freshly caught animals and the incidence of the final stage of maturity, in which eggs pack the oviducts, is greater. A comparison of maturity indices for fresh and aquarium males was inconclusive. The range of factors associated with aquarium conditions is briefly reviewed and it is concluded that studies of cephalopod reproductive maturation must distinguish fresh and aquarium animals.
External factors effective in inducing sexual maturation in cephalopods have been suggested several times. The influence of the absence of light has been implicated since the experiments of Wells & Wells (1959) showed that blinded Octopus vulgar is matured precociously. An effect of short day length in stimulating the optic glands of Sepia has been found by Defretin & Richard (1967) and Richard (1967) but this is not clearly the case for Octopus (Buckley, 1977). Octopuses kept in aquarium conditions for lengthy periods are said to have larger relative gonad sizes than those fresh from the sea (Wells & Wells, 1975). One of the factors associated with aquarium conditions is often a degree of starvation, and this circumstance alone is held to be a factor in inducing precocious sexual maturation in Eledone (Mangold & Boucher-Rodoni, 1973).
In the course of recent studies on the growth and reproduction of Eledone cirrhosa from the North Sea (Boyle & Knobloch, 1982,1983,1984) animals which had remained in aquarium conditions for 5 days or over were separated from the analysis.