Natures wonders: octopuses self-destruct after mating (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Friday, May 13, 2022, 19:05 (16 days ago) @ David Turell

A weird event:

"Octopuses are doomed to be orphans from a very young age. After a female octopus lays her eggs, she stops eating and begins self-mutilating, tearing off her skin and biting off the tips of her tentacles.

"By the time a young octopus wriggles out of its egg, its mother is already dead. A few months later, its father will die, too.

"The short and grim life of the octopus has long fascinated scientists. In 1944, researchers hypothesized that mating was somehow hitting a molecular "self-destruct" button within the sea creatures.


"In 1977, researchers figured out that the optic gland somehow plays a role in an octopus's programmed death.

"This organ is similar to the pituitary organ in humans. It sits between the octopus's eyes and it is linked to sexual development and aging in cephalopods. When it is removed from a female octopus, the creature lives several months after laying her eggs.

"In 2018, scientists took this knowledge and sequenced the RNA of two optic glands from two female octopuses in differing stages of decline.

"As an octopus neared death, the authors noticed higher levels of activity in several genes that control for sex hormones, insulin-like hormones, and cholesterol metabolism.

"Now, a few years later, some of the same researchers have directly analyzed the molecules secreted from this organ in both mated females and unmated females.

"After mating, its appears the optic gland really does secrete more sex hormones, insulin-like hormones, and precursors of cholesterol.

"All three of these molecules could ultimately contribute to signaling systems that trigger death. Or, perhaps it is merely the accumulation of these molecules in the octopus's body that is lethal, as is the case in humans.

"While the optic gland has previously been linked to the production of sex hormones in cephalopods, the other two pathways have only recently been identified in the "self-destruct" sequence.


"Wang says she is particularly excited that two of the pathways her team has identified are known from other studies in rodents.

"'[N]ow there's evidence from our study that those pathways are probably present in octopuses as well," says Wang.

"'It was really exciting to see the similarity across such different animals.'"

Comment: There is no clear reason for this happening. The oceans are huge, so a danger of overpopulation isn't present. Did God plan this? I view everything created is God's doing, but I cannot find a reason for God's actions here. I simply accept it.

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