Octopuses Tragically Destroy Themselves After Mating. We May Finally Know Why | Science Alert
Note: Study co-author Z. Yan Wang will be a Grass Fellow at MBL this summer.
Octopuses are doomed to be orphans from a very young age. After a female octopus lays her eggs, she stops eating and begins self-mutilating, tearing off her skin and biting off the tips of her tentacles.
By the time a young octopus wriggles out of its egg, its mother is already dead. A few months later, its father will die, too.
The short and grim life of the octopus has long fascinated scientists. In 1944, researchers hypothesized that mating was somehow hitting a molecular "self-destruct" button within the sea creatures.
It's taken nearly 80 years, but that vague hypothesis is at last taking shape. Researchers have recently figured out that mating seems to change several critical biochemical pathways based on cholesterol into various hormones in female octopuses. Read rest of the story here.