Chemical cues correlate with agonistic behaviour and female mate choice behaviour in the southern blue-ringed Octopus, Hapalochlaena maculosa (Cephalopoda: Octopodidae)

Morse, Peter, Zenger, Kyall R., McCormick, Mark I., Meekan, Mark G., and Huffard, Christine L. (2017) Chemical cues correlate with agonistic behaviour and female mate choice behaviour in the southern blue-ringed Octopus, Hapalochlaena maculosa (Cephalopoda: Octopodidae). Journal of Molluscan Studies, 83 (1). pp. 79-87.

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Chemoreception cues potentially influence intraspecific interactions of cephalopods, including mate choice. However, at present there is limited empirical evidence demonstrating whether cephalopods can use olfaction to identify the sex or identity of conspecifics. This study examined the responses of the southern blueringed octopus, Hapalochlaena maculosa (Hoyle, 1883), to conspecific odours during controlled laboratory trials. The ventilation rates in aquaria of 25 wild-sourced animals were measured during four treatments: baseline, sea water, sea water containing male conspecific odour and sea water containing female conspecific odour. When used as 'receivers' in trials, female H. maculosa significantly increased their ventilation rates in response to male odours, but not to female odours. However, female response decreased significantly with the receiver's size during female-odour treatments. The ventilation rates of male H. maculosa were statistically similar in all treatments. However, their ventilation rates showed a significant progressive increase over the observation period during male and female-odour treatments. Eighteen of these animals (nine females and nine males) were used in focal-animal trials 1 week after odour-cue experiments. Of these individuals, females were significantly more receptive to copulation attempts, and spent significantly more time per day in copulation, with males whose odours had elicited a weaker ventilation response in prior trials. These results suggest that female H. maculosa can use chemosensory cues to discriminate the sex, and possibly identity, of conspecifics and that this information might influence their mate choice. However, the mechanisms underlying these responses and subsequent copulatory access to females by males remain unknown.

Item ID: 47759
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1464-3766
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A version of this publication was included as Chapter 5 of the following PhD thesis: Morse, Peter (2017) The behavioural and molecular ecologies of the southern blue-ringed octopus, Hapalochlaena maculosa (Cephalopoda: octopodidae). PhD thesis, James Cook University, which is available Open Access in ResearchOnline@JCU. Please see the Related URLs for access.

Funders: Australian and Pacific Science Foundation
Date Deposited: 31 Mar 2017 00:27
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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