Life histories of Antarctic incirrate octopods (Cephalopoda: Octopoda)
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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As a general trend in the life history of marine organisms, species inhabiting cold waters have reduced growth rates and increased lifespans. Studies based on egg sizes and brooding times of deep-sea and polar octopods support this hypothesis, but empirical data on growth are still scarce. To test the hypothesis that octopods inhabiting cold waters (< 3°C) live longer than temperate and warm water species, this study investigated size-at-age, maturation and growth rates in incirrate Antarctic octopods. Octopod age was estimated via the interpretation and quantification of beak growth increments, which in shallow water octopods have been validated to be formed on a daily basis. Specimens from the families Megaleledonidae (Adelieledone spp., Pareledone spp. and Megaleledone setebos) and Enteroctopodidae (Muusoctopus rigbyae) were collected on the shelf and slope regions off the Antarctic Peninsula during a cruise in 2012. Examined specimens included early juveniles to animals in advanced maturity. The total number of growth increments ranged from 192–599 in Pareledone aequipapillae (body mass [BM] 2–109 g), 182–431 in Pareledone charcoti (BM 5–124 g), 98–906 in M. setebos (BM 10–6000 g) and 207–425 in M. rigbyae (BM 24–256 g). After the cruise, eleven specimens of P. charcoti were kept alive in captivity for more than 12 months and these animals had 219–364 growth increments, suggesting that increment formation in this species takes longer than one day. The complex population structure (size, age and maturity range) of the specimens that were captured during a relatively short time, the number of beak increments quantified, and the preliminary validation observations indicate that Antarctic octopods do not deposit increments daily, and may have lifespans exceeding 3 years. These findings corroborate the general trend that cold water molluscs have a longer lifespan than their warm water relatives.