VoyageTo See What's On The Bottom
Date: Wed, 19 Oct 94 18:21:23 PDT
Subject: VoyageTo See What's On The Bottom
Forwarded-by: WhiteBoard News <email@example.com>
Love at 2,000 fathoms can be hard to fathom.
Scientists surveying the ocean floor about 1,000 miles
west of Guatemala came across two male octopuses of
different, as-yet undetermined species, having sex.
"It raises all sorts of questions about what is going
on down there," said Janet Voight, an assistant curator
of invertebrates at Chicago's Field Museum of Natural
Voight and Rutgers University professor Richard Lutz
wrote that report on his 1993 observation of the
copulating octopi in Thursday's issue of Nature
What he saw was a 15-inch, white, thin-skinned octopus
using its sex organ -- the one of its eight arms that
is structurally similar to a mammal's penis -- to
penetrate the brownish-gray, 6-foot-plus octopus.
To mate, a male octopus inserts its copulatory arm into
the mantle cavity, or main opening in the body, of
another octopus -- male or female.
The scientists captured on videotape about 15 minutes
of the close encounter at about 10,000 feet.
It was the first time same-sex octopus reproductive
behavior has been observed in nature, the first time
mating behavior of any kind has been observed between
deep-sea octopuses and the first time two different
species of octopuses have been seen mating, Voight
© 1994 Peter Langston