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Subject: Broody octopus keeps record-breaking four-year vigil

Written By: Philip Eno on 08/01/14 at 8:23 am

For four years and five months, she clung to the rock and guarded her eggs.

In a feat that surely made good use of all eight arms, an octopus revealed a new secret of deep sea life when ecologists observed her record-breaking behaviour from a robotic submarine.

This doubles the longest brooding time ever seen in the animal kingdom, giving embryos time to develop in the cold.

The discovery, published in the journal PLOS One, was made in a canyon 1.4km beneath the Pacific, off California.

Dr Bruce Robison led the research at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI). He told BBC News his team had stumbled upon the plucky mother in the days before she settled down and glued her eggs to the rock face.

She was heading, slowly, for a known brooding site.

By looking at characteristic scars in one of her eight armpits, the team identified the same octopus on the next dive, one month later.

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