Marine and Freshwater Research Marine and Freshwater Research Society
Advances in the aquatic sciences
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Reproductive capacity of a marine species (Octopus tetricus) within a recent range extension area

Jorge E. Ramos A D , Gretta T. Pecl A , Jayson M. Semmens A , Jan M. Strugnell B , Rafael I. León A and Natalie A. Moltschaniwskyj C

A Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Private Bag 49, Hobart, Tas. 7001, Australia.

B Department of Genetics, La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Vic. 3086, Australia.

C School of Environmental and Life Sciences, University of Newcastle, PO Box 127, Ourimbah, NSW 2258, Australia.

D Corresponding author. Email: jeramos@utas.edu.au

Marine and Freshwater Research 66(11) 999-1008 https://doi.org/10.1071/MF14126
Submitted: 9 May 2014  Accepted: 5 November 2014   Published: 7 April 2015

Abstract

To persist in the face of environmental change, species must adjust to the new conditions or change their geographical distribution, e.g. by range extension. Success for individuals within a zone of range extension requires the new environment to support their capacity to produce viable gametes and survival of the offspring. Reproductive characteristics of the polewards range-shifting Octopus tetricus were examined within the new range off north-eastern Tasmania, Australia, to assess whether it is likely to successfully establish in this extended area of its range. Approximately 44% of captured males and 14% of captured females were mature. Mature females with developing eggs were found throughout the year. Greater numbers of mature females were observed during the austral summer and spring, whereas mature males were observed all year round. Fecundity was high and developing embryos appeared to be viable. Our results suggest that O. tetricus is successfully reproducing beyond its historical range, the reproductive cycle is timed to favourable environmental conditions, and the population has the potential to be self-sustainable. The reproductive biology of O. tetricus may thus facilitate the establishment and prevalence of the population into new environments beyond the known historical distribution.

Additional keywords: East Australian Current, fecundity, Ocean warming, population dynamics, population establishment, range shift.


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