Fecundity and reproductive strategies in deep-sea incirrate octopuses (Cephalopoda: Octopoda)
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- Barratt, I.M., Johnson, M.P. & Allcock, A.L. Mar Biol (2007) 150: 387. doi:10.1007/s00227-006-0365-6
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Coleoid cephalopods show flexibility in their reproductive strategies or mode of spawning, which can range from simultaneous terminal spawning over a short period at the end of the animal’s life to continuous spawning over a long period of the animal’s life. Although a simultaneous terminal spawning strategy is typical of shallow water temperate octopuses, it is not known whether deep-sea octopods would have the same reproductive strategy. The reproductive strategies and fecundity were investigated in nine species of deep-sea incirrate octopuses: Bathypolypus arcticus, Bathypolypus bairdii, Bathypolypus ergasticus, Bathypolypus sponsalis, Bathypolypus valdiviae, Benthoctopus levis, Benthoctopus normani, Benthoctopus sp., and Graneledone verrucosa (total n = 85). Egg-length frequency graphs and multivariate analysis (principal components analysis) suggest that B. sponsalis has a synchronous ovulation pattern and therefore a simultaneous terminal spawning strategy. Although a simultaneous terminal spawning strategy is most likely for B. levis and B. normani, the egg-length frequency graphs and multivariate analysis also suggest a greater variation in egg-lengths which could lead to spawning over an extended period.