Advances in the laboratory culture of octopuses for biomedical research. Academic Article uri icon


  • Five species of Octopus were cultured in pilot, large-scale 2,600 liter circulating seawater systems. Improvements in system design, water management and culture methodology were described. These five species all produced large eggs and correspondingly large hatchlings that had no planktonic or larval stage and thus were easier to culture. Octopuses grew well only when fed live marine crustaceans, fishes and other molluscs. Growth occurred as a 4-7% increase in body weight per day during the early exponential growth phase and 2-4% during the latter 1/2 to 3/4 of the life cycle, which ranged from 6-15 months depending upon species. All species reproduced in captivity. Survival was 70-80% when octopuses were reared in individual containers, but in group culture survival dropped to as low as 40% by the adult stage. Causes of mortality were species-specific and included hatchling abnormalities, escapes, aggression, cannibalism, disease, senescence and laboratory accidents. Octopus bimaculoides showed superior qualities for laboratory culture. The future potential of providing American scientists with laboratory-cultured octopuses was discussed along with their uses in biomedical research.

publication date

  • February 1985