By Raleigh McElvery
It may come as a surprise that an octopus could be the next “lab rat.” MBL research fellow Eric Edsinger is developing Octopus laqueus — also called the “friendly octopus” because it is less cannibalistic than other octopus species — as a possible genetic model for cephalopods. This requires culturing multiple generations in the laboratory, a feat easier said than done.
In the video, below, captured in the MBL’s Marine Resources Center, O. laqueus hatchlings emerge from their cases within the egg mass. This phase, known as the larval stage, is when the tiny octopus travels offshore as part of the plankton in the Indo-Pacific, before settling onto a tropical reef, where it lives as an adult.
“The planktonic stage is the most difficult part of the life cycle to re-create in the lab, and no one has really succeeded. On the other hand, the small size and transparency of O. laqueus embryos make them ideal for new light-based genetic tools,” says Edsinger. “The friendly octopus could help us solve the longstanding challenge of larval culturing, and enable exciting new areas of research.”
Video credit: Scott Bennett
Source: MBL YouTube Channel