Octopus mom has SeaLife Center scientists crossing fingers

Scientists at the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward are hoping to see their first baby octopus in almost a decade as their giant Pacific octopus LuLu attends to hundreds or thousands of eggs she laid after mating months ago.  The Seward Phoenix Log reports that the scientists are even hoping to keep some of the babies alive, which didn't happen the last time an octopus at the center laid fertile eggs.

Over the last ten months the giant Pacific octopus LuLu, a resident of Alaska SeaLife Center, has proven to be an attentive mother to the hundreds, or thousands, of eggs she laid last spring. She’s sucking water in through her mantle, and blowing it over them, and fanning it to give them plenty of oxygen and keep the water circulating. Day in and out she’s hovering over these pearly white curtains of rice-like eggs that hang off separate threads like grapes, rarely leaving them to feed herself. She’s visibly losing weight in the process. Any approaching starfish or aquarium personnel she aggressively pushes away with her long arms. Large rocks that she picked up, and with which she had hoped to barricade herself and her eggs behind, lie scattered below her on the tank floor.

Meanwhile, scientists like ASLC Aquarium Curator Richard Hocking, and Aquarium Coordinator Jared Guthridge are carefully observing her behavior, and learning new things about the and reproductive cycle of this fascinating alien-like creature.

Click here for a SeaLife Center video of LuLu meeting her mate. Read more at the Phoenix-Log: Due date narrows for octopus mom