New research has revealed some stunning courtship rituals of octopuses including flirting, hand holding, lover guarding, and even stalking the Myspace pages of potential mates.

The studies were conducted by the University of California, Berkeley on Abdopus aculeatus a kind of octopus living in a large colony off the coast of Sulawesi, an island in Indonesia.

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Do you have eight gloves in your pocket? Because I can see my hands in your pants.

“We quickly realized that Abdopus aculeatus broke all the ‘rules’ — doing the near opposite of every hypothesis we’d formed based on aquarium studies,” said Christine Huffard, a postdoctoral fellow who assisted on the study. She made the comments in this article in the Underwater Times. As it turns out, most…

…studies of octopus mating behavior came from a handful of observations from captives of aquariums.

Octopuses devote much of their lives to mating and the rituals involved in securing a mate – all the more so due to the fact that both the mother and the father tend to die soon after the babies are born. In the water, the researchers witnessed these creatures living up to their reputations as one of nature’s cleverest creatures. Males would guard females dens, chasing off other potential suitors. Some male octopuses have even been witnessed swimming like females in order to fly under the radar of jealous mates. Weren’t there a bunch of movies made in the 1980’s where human guys did something similar? I can think of at least 3. Here, here, and here.

Can you think of any others? Not listing them all here would be an injustice to octopuses everywhere.