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Courtesy of 2007 MBARI

Researcher: Deep-sea octopus broods eggs for over four years

Researchers at the University of Rhode Island and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute have observed a deep-sea octopus brooding its eggs for four-and-a-half years—longer than any other known animal. Throughout this time, the female kept the eggs clean and guarded them from predators. This feat represents an evolutionary balancing act between the benefits to the young octopuses of having plenty of time to develop within their eggs, and their mother’s ability to survive for years with little or no food.

“This research demonstrates how little we know about life in the deep-sea and life generally,” said Brad Seibel, a URI associate professor of biological sciences. “From shallow-living species we have developed limited and limiting ideas about the…

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