Octopus love is in full swing, and it looks like it’s only getting better.
New research from the University of Auckland has found that octopuses are very protective of their young.
The research, published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, found that the octopus family, which includes the red-bellied octopus, has evolved to protect its young from predators.
“It’s been known for years that octopus larvae are very social animals,” Associate Professor John De Silva from the university’s School of Marine and Antarctic Sciences said.
“They have evolved to be very protective and will protect their young from predation and other threats.”
“The fact that the young are protected by the parent is one of the things that makes them unique.”
Octopuses protect their youngsters from predators in the wild by laying their eggs in the water column of a pond.
“They’re a highly social group and their care of their children is not just for their own survival but also for the survival of their group,” Associate Prof De Silva said.
The University of New South Wales researchers have found that this care helps to keep the young alive and growing through the winter.
“The older an octopus is, the more time they spend in the pond with its young, which is very important,” Associate Lecturer Sarah Williams said.
She said the research shows that octo pups are a very important part of the octopuss family tree.
“There are a lot of species in the octomammalian family tree, but these are the first ones that we know of that actually have a nest at home,” Associate Fellow Dr Williams said