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See the Most Dedicated Moms In Nature

Noteworthy News! Some of my posts will be appearing in the local website. Here’s the first one celebrating all mothers.

While it’s no secret that human parents (especially moms) sacrifice so much for the well-being of their kids, less is known about other animals that go above and beyond for their offspring. Believe it or not, the octopus is one of the most dedicated moms in nature. So what does she do for her baby octopi?



First, the octopus mom finds a cave where her eggs can develop safely. She picks up some rocks from the ocean floor and builds a wall at the entrance to keep away any hungry starfish or crabs. She then lays her eggs. Depending on the species, the octopus mother will lay about 200,000 eggs.

She then hangs the eggs from the ceiling of her cave in strings. Each egg is about as large as a grain of sand. The cream colored eggs hang like decorative lights in the cave.

After laying her eggs, the mother octopus will no longer eat. She stays with her eggs to protect them from predators and any parasites. Every once in a while, she will blow fresh water over the eggs and gently move the eggs using her tentacles.

The mother octopus stays with her eggs for months. By the time the eggs are ready to hatch, she is smaller, weaker, and greyer in color. Using her final strength, she blows her eggs outside the cave where the eggs hatch and thousands of baby octopi are released into the ocean.

Baby octopus looks exactly like the adults, complete with eight legs and a little ink reservoir to create a small puff of ink. The mother octopus dies shortly after her eggs hatch.

Seeing a picture along with an image makes the story richer, deeper, and easier to remember. A lot of people are visual learners, and the when teaching something new or complex, clear illustrations are extremely useful. In the artwork, I wanted to show the octopus mother using her tentacles to care for her eggs in an intimate, dark environment. Pictures can show you so much more than what text alone can convey.

When illustrating this touching story about a dedicated mother, I couldn’t help but think about the times when my mom would stay up late with me when I was sick. She probably skipped few meals to care for us kids. Thanks for everything mom!

I hope you enjoyed the story and learned something new. Don’t forget to thank your mom this weekend (not just this weekend, but all the time), for all she does!

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Links of interest:

Video of octopus and her eggs

Great blog about everything octopus


  • Susan
    Posted 05/10/2013 10:32 am 0Likes

    I want you to know just how much I enjoy your posts on how to communicate visually. This is a great mother’s day story and I agree, the illustration completes the “picture”. Thank you!

    • ikumikayama
      Posted 05/13/2013 10:34 pm 0Likes

      Thank you so much Susan! I’m so glad you like the octopus picture. Your nice comment means so much to me! Stay tuned for more fun and informative posts!

  • OC Carlisle
    Posted 09/08/2013 6:45 pm 0Likes

    Ikumi, Thank you for your tips on presentations and the very moving story about the Octopus Mom. Like the Monarch butterflies. I’m so glad our Mothers were able to stay around and care for us, with all their love. Your work is beautiful, informative. Graduation May 2014.

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