February 28, 2011 | by  |
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The Tremoctopus

Welcome back, friends. For the Love issue of Salient, we’re travelling to the Great Barrier Reef, the home of the tremoctopus—affectionately known as the blanket octopus. Imagine you’re as big as a walnut, and you’re trying to make sweet, passionate love to a six-foot-six sack of jelly. It’s a situation that I hope none of you will ever have to deal with, but it’s a reality for the male blanket octopus. These little guys have it tough. Not only do they have to try and pleasure a woman 40,000 times their weight, but they also have no penis. To enable them to mate, their third right arm detaches itself, and crawls into the female’s head, where it fertilises her eggs. Shortly afterwards, the male dies. Romantic. Besides their rather quirky sex lives, the blanket octopus has some pretty rad defense strategies. When a female is startled, she doesn’t send a pathetic jet of ink at her enemies—rather, she unveils a cape-like membrane she has hidden away, and effectively triples her size. What better defense is there than pretending to be a superhero?

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