3rd Place Compact Behavior PT Hirschfield

3rd Place Compact Behavior

PT Hirschfield

"Mating Southern Keeled Octopuses"


PT Hirschfield won a YS-D3 Strobe from Sea & Sea

The Story: The Mornington Peninsula's reputation as 'The Octopuses Garden' is well-deserved. 2021 provided a seemingly endless supply of pale octopus couplings, but this was the first time I'd ever witnessed a pair of southern keeled octopuses engaged in mating. It was also the first time I've ever seen octopuses mating with a shell between them. 

When I first spotted them from a distance, the male was sitting atop of the shell containing the female. I saw him dismount the shell and moved several metres away, so I continued to observe from a slight distance, hoping he would return to the waiting female. 

After several minutes of us waiting and watching each other from a distance, I wondered what would happen if I slowly approached the shell. I was surprised to see the male mirroring my movement. When I got very close to the shell, the male climbed onto it again and inserted his hectocotylus mating arm into the waiting female below, allowing me to get a very close and intimate shot of the action. 

Location:  Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, Australia

Equipment Used: Canon G12 Camera , Sea & Sea YS-D2J Strobe

Camera Settings: F8, 1/250 sec, ISO 100


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