Sucker Display of Octopus


As a cephalopod, Octopus vulgaris is capable of the fastest and some of the most varied colour changes in the animal kingdom ; yet there is a remarkable lack of evidence for these being used in courtship or mating displays of the kind associated with brightly coloured vertebrate animals. Courtship colour display by a less studied octopus (probably O. horridus) has been observed by Young1, and the dramatic ‘zebra’ pattern of the decapod, Sepia offitinalis, which is used both in courtship and as a threat between males, is well known.

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  1. 1

    Young, J. Z., “Courtship and Mating by a Coral Reef Octopus O. horridus” (unpublished).

  2. 2

    Aristotle, see D'Arcy Thompson's The Works of Aristotle translated into English, Book V, 6, 541b (Oxford 1910).

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    Racovitza, B. G., Arch. Zool. Exp. Gen., 2, 23 (1894).

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    Wells, M. J., and Wells, J., J. Exp. Biol., 36, 1 (1959).

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    Boycott, B. B., and Young, J. Z., Pubbl. Staz. Zool. Napoli, 27, 232 (1955).

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    Young, J. Z., Proc. Roy. Soc., B, 149, 463 (1958).

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PACKARD, A. Sucker Display of Octopus . Nature 190, 736–737 (1961).

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