Marine Biology

, Volume 150, Issue 3, pp 387–398 | Cite as

Fecundity and reproductive strategies in deep-sea incirrate octopuses (Cephalopoda: Octopoda)

  • I. M. BarrattEmail author
  • M. P. Johnson
  • A. L. Allcock
Research Article


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.


Reproductive Strategy Discriminant Function Analysis Discriminant Function Analysis Mantle Length Mature Specimen 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We would like to thank the Department of Education and Learning, Northern Ireland, for a research studentship award, the Southampton Oceanography Centre for the loan of specimens, ‘RV Polarstern’ and the Alfred Wegner Institute for opportunities to collect B. levis, Sankurie Pye at the National Museums of Scotland for loans of specimens and Martin Collins at the British Antarctic Survey for additional specimens. We are also grateful to two anonymous reviewers for their advice on the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • I. M. Barratt
    • 1
    Email author
  • M. P. Johnson
    • 1
  • A. L. Allcock
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Biological Sciences, Medical Biology CentreQueens University BelfastBelfastUK

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