Early temperamental traits in an octopus (Octopus bimaculoides)

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During their 3rd week of life, 73 Octopus bimaculoides were observed to test whether discrete behaviors could be grouped reliably to reflect dimensions of temperament. Frequencies of behaviors during Week 3 were subjected to principal-components analysis (PCA), resulting in 4 components (active engagement, arousal/readiness, aggression, and avoidance/disinterest) that explain 53% of the variance. Levels of temperamental traits were then evaluated for 37 octopuses using composite scores at 3 time points across the first 9 weeks of life. Profile analysis revealed significant change for the testing group as a whole in trait expression levels from Week 3 to Week 6. Results also suggest a significant effect of relatedness on developing temperamental profiles of octopuses. Discussion focuses on how results apply to the life history of 0. bimaculoides and what temperament can reveal about adaptive individuality in a protostome.