Thursday, April 3, 2008


Welcome to a world of jealous murders, gender-bending and once-in-a-lifetime sex. No, it's not another day at the Mahon Tribunal – it's an average day in an octupus's garden. A study of the molluscs has found they have sex lives to rival any lurid tabloid tale. For a start, the abdopus aculeatus variety – which is the size of an orange – is jealous to the point of murder when it comes to a mate. The male uses its 10in (25cm) tentacles to strangle passing love rivals who take a fancy to their partner. That may be why smaller males opt for cunning disguises while out on the pull. They pretend to be female by swimming in a unmanly fashion and hiding their giveaway stripes to try to sneak into a female's den. And children soon become orphans – because shortly after giving birth both the mother and father die. Which is unfortunate really. Biologist Roy Caldwell, who co-wrote the report, explained that big is undoubtedly beautiful in the world of the wild octopus. 'If you're going to spend time guarding a female, you want to go for the biggest you can find because she's going to produce more eggs,' he said. Makes sense to me I suppose...

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