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In the Experimental Mariculture Station of INIDEP, research is being carried out with octopus of the species Octopus tehuelchus.

INIDEP closes life cycle of tehuelche octopus born in captivity

  (ARGENTINA, 2/1/2019)

The Experimental Station of Mariculture (EEM) of the National Institute of Fisheries Research and Development (INIDEP) has managed, for the first time, to close the life cycle of Tehuelche octopus (Octopus tehuelchus) born in captivity.

In surveys carried out in April 2017 in San Clemente del Tuyú and Villa Gesell, octopus females were collected with eggs inside snails. The embryonic development concluded at the Institute and then the eggs began to hatch. Some specimens of juveniles succeeded in overcoming the critical stage and they were individualized in tanks to make a detailed follow-up.

Juveniles born in captivity were kept in the aquarium specially assembled for these invertebrates, with characteristics required for the species, in a closed recirculation system.

In the course of 2017 and part of 2018, the most important point was to establish the type of food in each stage of the life cycle, working with live and inert food. As the juveniles grew, the food was adapted to their nutritional and behavioral needs.

Once the stage of "subadults" was passed, the sex determination was achieved by means of an ultrasound technique that reduces stress by manipulation. Afterwards, the octopuses were distributed in aquariums to be used as reproducers.

In August of 2018, at 15 months of life of the specimens born in captivity, the first egg laying from the breeders occurred.

The first juveniles corresponding to the second generation are now hatching (F2, that is, descendants of the first breeders kept in captivity), with an average weight of 0.2 grams. In this way, the Mariculture Experimental Station has managed to close the octopus's life cycle for the first time.

        

Lic. María Mercedes Berrueta working in a laboratory.

"The tehuelche octopus is a species of short cycle, which can live around 18 months. It adapts very well to captivity. In their adulthood, they can measure 30 centimeters and weigh 200 grams," explained Mercedes Berrueta, from the Mariculture and Experimental Biology Program (MARI), who was in charge of the work.

"Characteristics such as nutritional quality, short life cycle, rapid growth and a good adaptation to captivity, make these animals highly promising for mariculture; added to all these characteristics this species was chosen because it presents direct development without the presence of paralarva (small and planktonic hatchlings), a bottleneck in the culture of cephalopods of commercial interest, hatching a juvenile benthic with similar characteristics of the adult," detailed the member of the MARI Program.

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