Embryonic Development and Fecundity of the Pacific Pygmy Octopus, Paroctopus digueti

Maritza Garcia-Flores, Bertha P. Ceballos-Vazquez, Martin O. Rosales-Velazquez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The life history including embryonic development of most species of octopus is still poorly understood. This makes the identification of eggs and juveniles difficult, hampering distribution and dispersal studies. The Pacific pygmy octopus, Paroctopus digueti (Perrier & Rocheburne 1894), exhibits features, including its direct embryonic development, that make it an ideal candidate for aquaculture. This study provides detailed information on the embryonic development, the morphological characteristics of eggs, and the fecundity of wild female P. digueti maintained under laboratory conditions that replicate natural environmental conditions. The Pacific pygmy octopus showed a monocyclic spawning pattern that takes place in time-separated batches, leading to asynchronous embryonic development in the batch. Eggs are between 7 and 10 mm (8.9 ± 0.71 mm) in total length. During the embryonic development, 31 distinct stages were identified with a total duration of 38 days. The distribution of chromatophores showed a specific pattern, with dorsal chromatophores being more abundant and larger than ventral ones. An observed fecundity of 300 eggs per female was twice as high as the value previously reported for this species in Bahia Choya, Sonora. This study contributes to the better understanding of the life cycle of P. digueti. Besides being a basic reproductive aspect, fecundity is a key element for studies on the reproductive potential and population dynamics of the species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-134
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Shellfish Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • chromatophore pattern
  • eggs
  • embryonic development
  • parental care
  • spawning


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