Octopus Life Cycle


An octopus is an eight armed cephalopod organism that falls under the order Octopoda. The size of these sea creatures vary in size. The smallest octopus measures up to 5 cm in length and the largest octopus measures up to 6 meters in length. Octopuses generally appear to have a pouch-like head, which is slightly separated from the body, has compound eyes and eight arms. The arms are attached by a tissue known as the skirt, and each arm comprises two rows of powerful fleshy suckers. The mouth is located at the center of skirt tissue. Behind the octopus’s head is the mantle, which is a large muscular structure that holds gills, heart, respiratory and reproductive organs of the organism. Octopuses are generally found in all oceans and are more prominent in warm tropical waters.

Let’s look at the life cycle of an octopus to get a better understanding.

Life Cycle of Octopus

1) The Egg – Stage 1 –

After fertilization, the octopuses lay eggs that measure up to 0.3 cm in length. An octopus, like the common octopus, O. Vulgaris is able to lay more than 10,000 eggs and she lays the eggs in tiny holes and under rocks. The female octopus regularly cleans the eggs by using her suckers, till the eggs hatch. During this stage, the female octopus is known to protect the eggs with her life.

2) The Larvae – Stage 2 –

The larval octopus hatches after four to eight weeks of development. After the eggs hatch, the newly emerged larval octopuses are all on their own. In appearance, octopods look like adult octopuses and stay at the surface of the ocean. Initially, the octopods drift in plankton for a long period of time before going to the bottom of the ocean. During this stage, the primary food sources for octopods include larval crabs, larval starfish and larval lobsters. The larvae octopus feeds on plankton for a long time and frequently. After some time, these larvae swim down to the bottom of the ocean.

3) The Juvenile – Stage 3 –

During this stage, the juvenile octopuses start to develop at rapid speed. Due to its constant feeding habits, the juvenile octopus is able to increase its weight by 5 per cent every day. At the end of the octopus’s life, it weighs one-third as much as the food it has eaten. Since the life expectancy of an octopus is small, if the circumstances are favourable, then the larval octopus enters the adult stage of its life.

4) The Adult – Stage 4 –

When the octopuses reach this stage, they are sexually mature and ready to mate. The male octopus uses a modified arm known as hectocotylus to deposit sperms into the female octopus’s mantle cavity. After mating, the male octopuses die after a few months. The female octopus dies after the eggs are hatched. Certain species of octopuses are capable of storing sperms for several weeks after mating.


Octopuses mostly live at the bottom of the ocean floor, but are sometimes found at the surface of water drifting alongside planktons. Animals that prey on octopuses include large fishes, seals, and whales.

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Frequently Asked Questions on Octopus Life Cycle

Where do octopuses live?

Octopuses are found in all water bodies across the world. Mostly found in warm, tropical water, octopuses live near shorelines, in open oceans and on the ocean floor.

What do Octopuses eat?

The food items that octopi vary depending on the species it belongs to. Open ocean octopuses eat prawns and other small fishes. The bottom-dwelling octopuses eat worms.

Can octopuses live without water?

Like other marine animals, octopuses cannot live without water. If the octopus is void of water, it survives for a couple of minutes without water and dies.

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