Researchers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) have observed a deep-sea octopus brooding its eggs for four and one half years-much longer than any other known animal. Throughout this time, the female kept the eggs clean and guarded them from predators.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium published a paper to the Public Library of Science on Wednesday detailing their findings of a deep sea female Graneledone boreopacifica octopus found with a clutch of eggs in May of 2007. Identifiable by the scars and markings on her mantle, the scientists returned to the site off the California coast a total of 18 times until she finally met her demise four-and-a-half years later. Dubbed “Octomom” by the scientists, she laid approximately between 155 to 165 eggs per clutch. Most mothers pass away after only their first clutch, which makes these findings quite shocking. Lack of predation due to her low depth, low water temperature and low metabolic demand due to her inactivity is attributed to her extreme lifespan. You can read more of the fascinating details at Newsweek.com.