The octopus is one of the freakier looking animals of the sea, but how freaky are octopus freak-ons? Turns out, they’re pretty freakin’ freaky. Below are eight reasons why octopus sex is freakily interesting.
Number Eight: The males flash the females. OK, so they don’t actually flash the females. It’s more like they flash different skin patterns and colors to intrigue a female. This is the same ability that allows octopuses to use camouflage to blend into their surroundings.
Number Seven: Size does matter. Male octopuses are attracted to larger females because they produce more eggs, which gives them a higher probability of successful gene transmittal. Females seek male partners with large ligulas, which are located at the end of the male’s reproductive organ, or third right arm.
Number Six: They mostly stick to two positions… You’d think octopuses would get a little jiggier with it, considering they have all those arms and no internal skeleton. However, in the case of most Pacific octopuses, these creatures have sex either side by side or with the male on top.
A recent and rare finding showed one pair getting a little cozier, sometimes mating beak to beak, wrestling, even sharing a den and food for days at a time and embracing each other tight enough to leave sucker-induced hickeys. This, however, is the exception.
Number Five: By the way, side-to-side sex looks something like this. Not awkward at all.
Number Four: It’s an octopus-eat-octopus world. Getting busy is risky business, especially for the male octopus. This is because the females have been known to strangle and devour the males after the deed is done. This could be the reason for the less intimate side-by-side position – often initiated at arms length – for a quick getaway.
Number Three: It’s definitely a marathon, not a sprint. Males take about an hour to transfer a lone spermatophore, a long sac of up to 7 billion sperm, into the female’s reproductive cavity. The whole mating process takes up to four hours, and that doesn’t even include the flash-dance courtship.
Number Two: Males Use it and Lose it. Argonaut octopuses can detach their members once they get it in, so to speak. Their female companions have been found to have multiple male organs stuck in their reproductive mantle cavity.
Number One: Sex literally kills them. After the mating process, both male and female octopuses become shells of their former selves. They wander aimlessly, refusing to eat or hunt. They lose up to half of their body weight and either die of starvation or become easy prey to a larger animal. Having completed their motherly duty, the females die shortly after their eggs hatch.