, Volume 725, Issue 1, pp 7–21 | Cite as

Gonadal development and reproductive strategies of the tropical octopus (Octopus insularis) in northeast Brazil

  • Françoise D. de Lima
  • Tatiana S. Leite
  • Manuel Haimovici
  • Jorge E. Lins Oliveira


Octopus insularis inhabits shallow waters along the coast and oceanic islands of northeastern Brazil, where it is the main target of commercial fishing of octopuses. This study aims to investigate the hypothesis that the tropical O. insularis has a distinct gonadal development and reproductive features when compare to its congener O. vulgaris from the subtropical regions. In order to describe its reproductive development, 545 octopuses were collected in the Northeastern Brazil. A good correspondence was observed between the gonad morphology and its histological structure. Oocytes in different development stages were observed in mature females. Most female in early maturity stages had sperm stored in the spermathecae, indicating that females copulate when still immature. There was no correlation between testis weight and the Needham complex, suggesting a protracted period of spermatophore production. Octopus insularis has a general gonadal development pattern similar to O. vulgaris, however, some differences were observed, as maturation at a smaller size, probably associated to a shorter life, and lower fecundity. The distinct reproductive features of O. insularis seem to be related to less variable conditions in the tropical environments. Management should take into account the differences and establish specific rules for the Northeast Brazil octopus fisheries.


Maturity scales Histology Ovulation Management Brazil 



We are extremely thankful to the small scale fishermen from Rio do Fogo for their willingness to provide information on the fishery and specimens and to Jaciana Barbosa and Lorena Candice, for their collaboration in sampling. The Federal University of the Rio Grande do Norte, the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA), and the Brazilian National Research Council (CNPq 559863/2008-0) are acknowledged for their logistic and financial support.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Françoise D. de Lima
    • 1
    • 2
  • Tatiana S. Leite
    • 2
  • Manuel Haimovici
    • 3
  • Jorge E. Lins Oliveira
    • 2
  1. 1.Programa de Pós-Graduação em EcologiaUniversidade Federal do Rio Grande do NorteNatalBrazil
  2. 2.Benthos and Cephalopod Laboratory, Departamento de Oceanografia e LimnologiaUniversidade Federal do Rio Grande do NorteNatalBrazil
  3. 3.Instituto de Oceanografia e LimnologiaFundação Universidade Federal do Rio GrandeRio GrandeBrazil

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