Take it away, Slog tipper John:
A giant pacific octopus mother who lived just across from downtown Seattle had her hatch right under the noses of local divers. Her den was sequestered in Cove Two in West Seattle, in a location that spared her from predators and over-visitation by humans. On September 4 (aka early, early on September 5), 2010, the eggs began hatching. It's a time of mixed emotion; joy at the hatch, and sadness at the knowledge that this event means the mother's life will end. The hatch lasted a full week, after which the mother died.
Octopuses die after they have sex—the male first (his job is done) and the female after the hatch is born and cared for. Here's how a local octopus expert, Dr. Roland Anderson, explained it to The Stranger a few years ago:
Then the bad times come. "It's called senescence," says Dr. Anderson. "And it's similar to human dementia. Males go crazy, stop eating, rove around aimlessly, not being careful. It's hormones—females go into senescence, too. My father had Alzheimer's, and I'm sorry to say he wandered off a time or two and it didn't make a lot of sense what he was wandering off for. Octopuses are the same way." Unlike humans with dementia, senescent octopuses sometimes chew off their own arms.
Their immune systems also shut down, allowing the small lacerations they accumulate from bumping into things during senescence to develop major infections. The postcoital male goes directly to feeding the top of the local food chain (seals and sharks) and the bottom (Aeromonas, Vibrio, and Staphylococcus bacteria). The female retires to her cave, decorating it with garlands of tear-shaped eggs. She tends to the strands, blowing them with soft jets of oxygenated water for six months. To keep up her energy, the female metabolizes her own body, losing up to 70 percent of her weight. Soon after her eggs hatch, she dies. As Dr. Anderson repeated several times during our conversations: "There's no such thing as safe sex for octopuses."
And as a guide at the Seattle Aquarium said in the same article: "Until they're full grown, octopuses are the cupcakes of the sea—everybody likes to eat them." Good luck, little octopuses!