Octopi Mating

April 4, 2021

The last dive of the trip was absolutely amazing. I'm always on the lookout for octopus but sightings are rare in New Zealand and my expectations are low. So as I was looking under every ledge and every crevasse, I was excited to find an octopus tucked away under a ledge.

 Female Octopus

I probably spent a good five minutes with this octopus. It wasn't very active and stayed put while I observed it.

As I left the area, I made a mental note of where it was as I wanted to stop by again on my way back. When I returned, I was astounded to find another octopus in the area!

Male Octopus

Shortly after, the second octopus moved out from under the ledge and changed shape and colour to match the reef.

Male Octopus

Then I noticed that the second octopus was reaching back to the first octopus underneath the ledge. That's when I realised what was happening. They were mating.

"When octopuses reproduce, the male uses a specialised arm called a hectocotylus to transfer spermatophores (packets of sperm) from the terminal organ of the reproductive tract (the cephalopod "penis") into the female's mantle cavity." Read Octopus Reproduction.

I immediately switched to video to record this tender moment.

Octopi Mating

I don't know what the likelihood of a recreational diver observing octopi mating is but I suspect it's highly unlikely. I was very fortunate to witness this and have the air to casually and carefully get the pictures and video. It was truly an amazing encounter.

North West Point

Location: Tauranga, Motiti Island, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand


Dive Number:   190
Bottom Time: 47m
Time In: 11:38 a.m.
Tank In:
Max Depth: 18.80 ft
Table Used:
Mix:   Air
Safety Stop: 3m
Time Out: 12:25 p.m.
Tank Out:
Average Depth: 12.90 ft
Start Pressure Group:
Surface Interval:   1h 9m
End Pressure Group:


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