Deep sea squids and octopuses

Posdoctoral Fellow Stephanie Bush is working with the Monterey Bay Aquarium on their exhibit “Tentacles: The Lives of Octopuses, Cuttlefishes, and Squid”, that opened in April 2014. This exhibit showcases the diversity and ecology of cephalopod molluscs. By using MBARI’s expertise and technological resources to acquire deep-sea squids and octopuses, this exhibit exposes the public to these little known animals.

The cirrate octopus, Opisthoteuthis sp., that we have collected and displayed multiple times turns out to be an undescribed species.colleagues at the aquarium and Stephanie are working to formally describe it. In the meantime, Science Friday made a video about this little octopus which garnered much local, national, and international attention.


 This flapjack octopus in the genus Opisthoteuthis was photographed 330 meters (about 1,080 feet) below the surface in Monterey Bay. Flapjack octopus can swim by moving their fins, pulsing their webbed arms, pushing water through their funnel for jet propulsion, or all three at once. They often swim up off the bottom and hover a bit just above the seafloor, looking for small crustaceans, worms, and other food. MBARI researchers are working with aquarists at the Monterey Bay Aquarium to learn more about flapjack octopuses.


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Stumpy cuttlefish and eggs

Stumpy cuttlefish and eggs

Suckers of a Giant Pacific Octopus

Suckers of a Giant Pacific Octopus

Developing flamboyant cuttlefish eggs

Developing flamboyant cuttlefish eggs

The Monterey Bay Aquarium has a number of research cruises scheduled for collecting these animals. Stephanie coordinates these cruises and serves as chief scientist on them. The animals collected are then kept in MBARI’s cold, dark-room or transported to the aquarium where scientists constantly try to improve the feeding and housing methods in order to keep these animals alive and healthy.

  • Vampyroteuthis infernalis*
  • Octopoteuthis deletron
  • Chiroteuthis calyx
  • Japetella diaphana*
  • Opisthoteuthis sp. *

 *have been displayed at the Monterey Bay Aquarium