Friday Cephalopod: They’re going to outbreed us!

Here they come, the legions of cephalopods. Massive aggregations of brooding octopuses were found near Monterey Bay.

That’s not all. The University of Georgia had a single octopus in their aquarium, Octavius, presumed male, until they discovered a surprise one morning.

“I noticed this cloud of moving dots and I realised, ‘Oh my God, she had babies. There are babies. There are babies everywhere.’ And a sort of panic ensued,” aquarium curator Devin Dumont told Mary Landers at Savannah Now.

“I immediately started scooping them out and putting them in buckets and there were just buckets and buckets and buckets full of tiny octopi.”

Finding a tank full of baby octopuses (or octopodes for language pedants) would certainly be enough to shock anybody into mixing up their Greek and Latin word roots.

I, for one, welcome our breeding swarms of transgender octopuses, and will greet them as saviors when they emerge to release humanity from its misery.

If it’s Monday, it must be spider feeding day

Mondays are usually awful, but now at least I have one thing to look forward to: it’s feeding day down on the spider ranch. The adults get a nice chewy cricket each, while I go through the spiderlings’ chambers and toss them a fruit fly each. Since Vera was so avidly hungry today, I recorded her trapping her prey and then picking at it for an extended period of time.

This one is only for spider obsessives who can enjoy staring at close-ups of arachnids doing strange things with their jaws for 15 minutes or more. Are you one? Let me know, and we can start a club.

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Spider status (no photos)

I spent a good chunk of my morning fussing over my spider colony, tidying up their vials and making sure they all had food (crickets for the larger ones, wingless fruit flies for the little guys.) I currently have 10 total adults, 8 females and 2 males, and a countless swarm of spiderlings that I’m gradually sorting out into individual dishes.

The current roster:


  • Gwyneth
  • Cathy
  • Diane
  • Amanda
  • Emma
  • Xena
  • Sara
  • Larry

The ones in blue have had a successful hatching, and are currently sharing their vial with some unknown number of babies. I’m slowly working on separating them.

The ones in red have an egg sac.

This is promising — they seem to be awesomely fecund. I’m going to have to wait on supplies before I can start doing mad science on the embryos, though. For now I’ll be content with just building up the colony and figuring out what I’m doing.

Uh, about Larry…Larry’s on the small side, and I initially only got a rough look at their morphology with a hand lens, and just today I got a good look under the scope. Larry’s a girl. Come on, people, I’m new at this — I’ll keep practicing at recognizing their sexes.


  • Barney
  • Harry
  • Fred (deceased)

Fewer males. I don’t know whether it’s due to high mortality upon encountering females, or if it’s just sampling bias. They are smaller and harder to spot.

These are all wild caught adults, found in our garage and sun porch. Credit where credit is due: Mary found them all, and lately she’s been catching them herself. True story: I was just reading papers, and had put together a few vials and things to begin the process of spider catching, when she told me there was a lovely spider on the door of the sun room, and asked was it the right species? And of course it was, so I clumsily scooped up Amanda and took her to the lab. And now Mary has the search image for these spiders locked into her brain, and she prowls around and spots them with her eagle eyes, and I haven’t had to do a lick of work.