And the award for ‘most dedicated mother in nature’ goes to…
…the deep-sea octopus, Graneledone boreopacifica.
This tough mama currently holds the record for longest egg-brooding period of any animal—about 53 months.
Yes, she spent almost 4-and-a-half years guarding her eggs vigilantly from would-be predators, never leaving her spot. The research team that first discovered her via remote-operated vehicle (ROV) revisited her multiple times, only to observe her physically wasting away and looking weaker with each visit.
Why does she do this? To increase her young’s chances of survival. By guarding her eggs over a long period of time, she provides her young with a longer developmental period. G. boreopacific hatchlings emerge as miniature adults, skipping the larval stage entirely.
World’s toughest job indeed.
Happy mother’s day!
Video source: MBARI
Reference: Robison, et al. 2014.