New Findings on the Behaviour of the Horned Octopus Eledone cirrhosa in Captivity

  • Marcos Regueira
  • Ángel Guerra
  • Ángel F. González


A total of sixteen individuals of horned octopus Eledone cirrhosa were caught using creels by a vessel of the small-scale fishery operating in the Ría of Vigo (NW Spain). Captures took place on the west side of the Cíes Islands (Galician Atlantic Islands Maritime-Terrestrial National Park) in March 2013 between 60 and 70 m depth. All the octopuses were females, ranging 355–950 g in body weight. Animals were kept alive and subsequently transferred to open seawater system. Observations under confined conditions resulted in several behavioural events, summarized as follows: i) visual attack sequence was described and found to be similar to that exhibited by Sepia sp., which involves three main phases: attention, positioning and seizure, ii) after a time of confinement, females spontaneously start to spawn in the artificial dens arranged inside the tanks, although eggs were unviable, and iii) females spawn within a shelter, inside which they remain during eggs development, and block the entrance with stones and other materials they find nearby the burrow. This behaviour has been observed for the first time in E. cirrhosa. These new findings are discussed and compared with previous literature.


Eledone cirrhosa Hunting Spontaneous spawning Fake spawning Burrowing 



We thank to Nuevo Cigala’s crew for providing the animals for experimentation. We are also grateful to M.E. Garci, A. Roura and M. Bao for their suggestions and comments that improved the manuscript.This research was supported by the project “Impacto do ambiente sobre o polbo Eledone cirrhosa no sistema de afloramento costeiro das augas de Galicia” (INCITE 08PXIB402074PR), funded by Xunta de Galicia. Marcos Regueira was supported by a FCT grant (SFRH/BD/51038/2010).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marcos Regueira
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ángel Guerra
    • 1
  • Ángel F. González
    • 1
  1. 1.Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas (IIM-CSIC)VigoSpain
  2. 2.Departamento de BiologiaUniversidade de AveiroAveiroPortugal

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