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Animal Sex: How Octopuses Do It

Animal Sex: How Octopuses Do It

Mating for males is a dangerous game due to the female’s penchant for cannibalism. To avoid getting eaten, they’ll often mate from a distance or after mounting the back of a female’s mantle — positions that give them extra time to escape should their (usually larger) mate turn violent.


Unlike females, males have a modified third right arm called a hectocotylus, which has a sperm groove down it and a specialized tip. To mate, a male will insert his hectocotylus into the female’s mantle cavity and deposit spermatophores (sperm packets). This process may take up to several hours, depending on the species.

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