Giant Pacific Octomom at ASLC

LuLu, a giant Pacific octopus living at the Alaska SeaLife Center since July, 2009, dutifully tends her many thousands of eggs first laid last spring.(ASLC staff photo credit)

Lulu, a giant Pacific octopus living at the Alaska SeaLife Center since July, 2009, dutifully tends her many thousands of eggs first laid last spring.(ASLC staff photo credit)

The Alaska Tsunami National Ocean Sciences Bowl is happening right now, and over the weekend at Seward High School. In honor of science nerds everywhere, I wanted you to know that another fascinating phenomenon is occurring right now at the Alaska SeaLife Center. Their Giant Pacific Octopus “Lulu” is pregnant; or rather this Octo-Mom is caring for hundreds, possibly thousands of eggs she laid after mating with the old ASLC octopus male Felix, from the Denizens of the Deep Exhibit way back on Sept 15, 2011.

It’s the only time either of them got to mate in their whole life. Felix has since died, as males do after mating. Lulu also will die-but hopefully after her eggs have hatched. For the past 10 months, since she actually decided to begin laying those fertile eggs—after a six month retention period—she has been an attentive mother, fanning the eggs, protecting them from predators like star fish or aquarium attendants, and trying to build a barricade to hide behind. She doesn’t even leave them to get food to eat very often anymore, and has lost weight as a result.
The SeaLife Center staff are carefully watching her progress and learning things from observing her reproductive cycle and her behavior. They are hoping to learn even more about the process of feeding and caring for the hatchlings successfully when they hatch from their eggs this spring.
And now here are Giant Pacific Octopus eggs seen close-up:



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Clearly visible in the embryos by mid-December were eyes, numerous pigment spots forming on the skin, and a supply of yolk at the round end of the egg to sustain them until they hatch. (ASLC staff photo)

Clearly visible in the embryos by mid-December were eyes, numerous pigment spots forming on the skin, and a supply of yolk at the round end of the egg to sustain them until they hatch. (ASLC staff photo)

Here’s a You Tube videotape of LuLu mating with Felix.    Happy early Valentines Day!

You can read more from Heidi Zemach’s Phoenix-Log article: Due date narrows for octopus mom.

The ASLC is open daily in Seward. Alaska residents can get in for free on Wednesday’s through the end of the month.

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One Comment

  1. Wow, interesting video. Haven’t been in to see the eggs recently, will go check it out. Lots happening this weekend in Seward!