Blue Ringed Octopus Life Cycle
The blue ringed octopus is, in general, solitary and territorial. It is not outwardly aggressive but will vigorously defend its range and den when challenged.
The male and female blue ringed octopus grow to similar sizes but the male has a modified tentacle with a groove running along the edge with a grasping structure called the 'hectocotylus' at the tip. When mating begins, the male caresses her mantle with this tentacle. He then places his tentacle into the females mantle cavity and inserts the sperm packet releasing the spermatophores. Males die after mating.
The female lays between 50 - 100 eggs, each enclosed in a clear, transparent covering. The female blue ringed octopus carries them around under the 'skirt' between her tentacles and guards them closely. She only has one clutch of eggs because she is unable to eat while protecting her eggs and dies soon after the eggs hatch.
The infant blue ringed octopus is about pea-sized when it hatches. It matures quickly and soon grows to the size of a golf ball (adult-sized) within the year. They are ready to mate the following year and then die.
Life expectency = 2 years.