June 26, 2015

MBARI celebrates Cephalopod Week

Sharks may get more screen (and scream) time, but cephalopods—squids, octopuses, and their relatives—are definitely creepier, and certainly more diverse. For the second year in a row, MBARI has partnered with the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Science Friday, the American Museum of Natural History, and other groups to present a wonderful array of cephalopod images and videos as part of “Cephalopod Week.” On this page, we’ve compiled just a few of the images and videos that these organizations have posted over the past week.


In this Science Friday video, MBARI postdoctoral fellow Stephanie Bush describes her research on the unbelievably cute “flapjack octopus.”


Here’s a YouTube video showing a flapjack octopus that was on display at the Monterey Bay Aquarium


This video, produced by MBARI’s video lab, shows an amazing deep-sea squid with two different-sized eyes.


Here’s another Science Friday video in which MBARI researcher Crissy Huffard talks about octopus that “walk” on two legs.


Red Octopus hunting a spot prawn

In the photo below, a red octopus(Octopus rubescens) tries to catch a spot prawn while hiding among some pink sea urchins (Strongylocentrotus fragilis). Although the octopus has excellent eyesight, it uses touch and smell to find food. Thousands of chemical receptors and millions of texture receptors line the rims of its suckers. Red octopuses scour the sandy seafloor searching for small prey, or crawl in and out of rocky areas to hunt crabs and shrimp.

Octopus_rubescensV3735-640


Graneledone octopus

The deep-sea octopus Graneledone boreopacifica is found in all of the world’s oceans, typically at depths of 1,000 to 3,000 meters. It usually moves by crawling over the seafloor, but is also capable of swimming via jet propulsion and/or pumping the arms and flared webs. MBARI marine biologists recently discovered that this octopus may spend up to four and one half years brooding its eggs!

Graneledone_boreopacificaD660-640


Taonius squid

The deep-sea squid in the genus Taonius has large eyes bulging from its head and glowing light organs called photophores underneath its eyes. We see these squids living more than 300 meters below the surface in Monterey Canyon. They often hanging motionless with their arms above their body.

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Piglet squid

MBARI researchers were diving deep in the Gulf of California when they saw this amazing squid in the genus Heliocranchia. They nicknamed it the “piglet squid” because of its small round body and wiggling tail. Not much is known about this animal.

Tiburon Dive# 547 Lat= 24.23370743 Lon= -109.66649628 Depth= 971.5 m Temp= 4.403 C Sal= 34.341 PSU Oxy= 0.09 ml/l Xmiss= 84.3% Source= digitalImages/Tiburon/2003/tibr547/DSCN1056.JPG Epoch seconds= 1049117121 Beta timecode= 02:27:48:24


In addition to the images and videos above, MBARI and the aquarium have been posting other tidbits about cephalopods on social-media sites using the hashtag #CephalopodWeek. Check them out!

For additional information or images relating to this article, please contact: Kim Fulton-Bennett
831-775-1835, kfb@mbari.org