California’s Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute has found out some fascinating things about the mating behaviors of octopuses.
First, some general information: these particular octopuses are about as big as a human hand, and most of that size is in their sucker-covered tentacles. Their bodies are just walnut-sized. To procreate, the males deposit “sperm packets” in the female’s body through a specialized tentacle.
Second: this particular species (aculeatus octopu) is normally yellow with dapples of brown, tan, and grey. But when a male sees another octopus, he puts on his fighting and flirting colors (both of which look the same), turning nearly white with dark stripes. That signals that he’s a male, and is ready to fight OR mate.
Third: the females will mate with any male octopus that wanders by. The males are more selective and are more enthralled with the more voluptuous females – skinny girls need not apply.
Fourth: the little itty-bitty guys don’t want to fight the regulation-size guys, so they crawl along the ocean floor to one of the voluptuous females in a den guarded by the larger male. These clever smaller dudes remain brown and yellow (typical female behavior). By hiding and “cross-dressing,” these little guys often manage to get close enough to the female to mate….and, as I reported, she’ll mate with anybody, anytime, anywhere.
Moral to this story??