On Valentine’s week, we bring you a tale of passion, and love, and tragedy, and hope, from the Alaska Sea Life Center in Seward.
Let’s start at the beginning.
You see, gentle readers, when a boy octopus and a girl octopus love each other very much, they share a special kind of hug. And in this case it was VERY special.
I’m talking about Felix and Lulu, two Giant Pacific Octopuses. (Forget everything you have been taught, it is not “octopi”) The two were introduced, and there were instant fireworks. Lulu laid eyes on the dashing star of the Denizens of the Deep exhibit, and it was love at first sight. The result was a very passionate and leggy interlude, which was captured forever on film – a weirdly compelling few minutes of octoporn, loosely clothed in scientific research. Not even the few tasteless gawkers with flash cameras could dampen the ardor of our lovers’ cephalopodic desire.
So, yeah. You could say they pretty much hit it off right away.
Not only that, but their September 15 union successfully got Lulu in the family way, much to the delight of all concerned. That’s right, our expectant mama had thousands of buns in the oven, and laid them all in December. She now stands guard over her brood, being a great mom, and fanning the eggs, watching over them, and keeping them safe.
And lest you think that Felix and Lulu indiscriminately rushed into things by deciding to start a family right away, you should know that this was Felix and Lulu’s one and only opportunity to… er… “engage in amorous congress.” Why only once? Would that it were only a lovers quarrel, or disapproving families that kept our two star-crossed lovers from meeting again. Alas, the culprit is death.
As all male octopuses do Felix had his fun, and has now passed away. Lulu will die too, but hopefully not before her precious eggs hatch, and the tank fills with thousands of bouncing babies that will carry their parents’ DNA another generation into the future.
Already the vigilant Lulu seldom leaves the eggs, and is eating less and less. She has lost weight. All we can do is hope for the best, and celebrate the new life that will come this spring. Lulu and Felix are lucky that their babies will not be born in the harsh and dangerous open ocean. A devoted staff awaits the little ones, and will learn much about the care and feeding of the next generation.
So, Happy Valentine’s Day to you, and may your intimate relatioinship(s) be less complicated than this one.