The species of octopus is one of the most easily distinguishable marine creatures on our planet. Their eight arms aren’t particularly arms at all. It is composed of six arms and two legs. Quite remarkable, right? There are still a lot of things humans don’t know about these creatures. One of the most common questions about octopuses aside from their arms is ‘how long do octopuses live?’
When we talk about how long an octopus lives, there are a lot of factors to consider. But with advanced metrics in our technology, today paved the way to truly know how long these creatures live. So, before we start, we will be going through some valuable information about the species of octopus to know them better.
Understanding Octopus Life Span
There are more than 300 species of octopus swimming through the ocean floor. What makes them unique in their way is they will live long enough just to reproduce and wander off until they die. The octopus belongs to the cephalopods species, which means they are in the same family as the squids and cuttlefish.
Life Cycle Of An Octopus
Cephalopods are known to be having an innate ability to be flexible as they can pass through tight openings, crevices, and cracks. They are also known to possess intelligent minds that can be comparable to marine mammals as well. However, despite their unique abilities, they can only live so much. Let’s discuss their lifecycle below.
One of the cruel things octopuses must face at an early stage is thriving on their own without any help from their parents or siblings. This means that when an octopus hatches from its eggs, they are on their own now. This form is also known as the paralarvae stage. Their primary source of nutrition is plankton and other very small organisms.
During this stage, not many of them go through their toddler years as they can also be a source of food for other fishes. Since they are quite small, they can often be preyed upon. It is said that when an octopus survives during this larval stage, they are more accustomed to life at the bottom of the ocean and floor and will give them a bigger chance to reach adulthood.
It is like their growing years during this stage, and it’s like the teenage years for humans. However, when an octopus eventually goes through the paralarvae stage, it will traverse through the depths of the ocean and will immediately grow. During this stage, they will grow so fast that it is estimated that they grow 5% of their body weight until they reach their full size.
Until it becomes an adult, they are still susceptible to various factors such as being a meal to bigger fishes. When a female spawns its 400,000 eggs, only a few reach maturity. Although males are generally fast growers and reach adulthood rapidly, they are relatively smaller than female octopuses. It is also believed that a female octopus prefers a larger male than a smaller one. As a result, the male octopus who reach adulthood faster but are a tad smaller may have a harder time finding their true love.
Maturity & Reproduction
Almost all species of octopus reach adulthood, an average of 1 to 2 years of age. Once adulthood is reached, the male octopus is constantly seeking a male counterpart to mate and multiply. As a result of mating, the male octopus will eventually die after a few months, whereas the female octopus will lay and protect its eggs. Usually, after mating, when the male wanders off into the abyss, the female carries her eggs around until they are ready to hatch.
During mating, the male octopus usually draws near to a female octopus. As time passes by, the female octopus fends them off frequently. But when a female octopus accepts them, the male octopus mounts the female octopus and inserts its hectocotylus or the male's arm onto the female’s mantle and eventually reaches it and passes spermatophores. It can take around 5 to 7 hours for the octopus to copulate.
A female can lay eggs ranging from 100,000 eggs to 400,000 eggs and protect them around two to ten months, depending on the species. They protect it from predators and ensure that her eggs get a substantial amount of oxygen for them to hatch right on time. Also, the mother octopus will not eat during this period of protecting her eggs, and its health is slowly deteriorating. However, they usually live long enough to expel her eggs from the den and into the water.
The Beginning Of The End
The average passing between their hatching stage down to its death varies deeply from each octopus species. For example, a common octopus can live long enough to reach adulthood and eventually die in two years, whereas some bigger species of large octopus can reach up to three years of age.
It is also believed that when an octopus doesn’t mate during its lifetime, it can reach up to 5 years of age. One of the more known octopus species, the pacific giant octopus, can live roughly about 3 to 5 years on average.
Wrapping Things Up
The species of octopus is one of the most fascinating yet bizarre types of the creature on our planet. As you learned from the information above, they only live long enough to mate and reproduce until they eventually die. They are considered one of the fastest living animals as it would only take a few years to reach adulthood. However, once maturity is reached, the clock is ticking to find someone to mate before they eventually die.
So, have you already learned something unique about these creatures? They are extremely remarkable in their way. We hope we’ve answered your questions on how long octopus lives. To summarize, they will reach maturity at around 1 to 2 years, depending on the species. After mating, they will soon wander off and eventually die.
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