Any ideas on ID? Pelagic species from 2000 NOAA trawl


Colossal Squid
Staff member
Moderator (Staff)
Oct 19, 2003
This one from the Bering Sea has been puzzling me for some time...

"Scientists are uncertain of the specific identity of this rarely caught pelagic Octopod. The yellow ring occurs only in females and is thought to be commonly eaten by Dalls' Porpoise. They are rarely ever caught in standard survey trawls."
I found a reference to the family Bolitaenidae.
CGI::Debug response

The pelagic octopods of this family have gelatinous bodies, with arms shorter than the mantle. The arms are equipped with a single row of suckers and are connected by a web of moderate depth. The mantle is oval with the aperture wide. Adult females have a luminous organ in the form of a thick ring under the integument around the mouth. The radula is comb-like. Males lack a hectocotylus.

Will search some more...

Here you go - Bolitaeninae

Your photo looks like Japetella diaphana
I've never seen such a large one! Most peculiar indeed (we get the pelagic juveniles here (NZ), but they're certanly not common).
The ID seems to be definitive. Good job cuttlegirl! I was thinking the same thing as Steve, though. TolWeb says they're small octopods, with the largest specimen being 85 mm ML. Now it's difficult to get much in that image for a size reference, but I was thinking that that orange thing top right was a glove of some sort. That would make this a considerably bigger specimen. But I'm not really sure.
Thanks for posting this. Its a really cool species that I hadn't a clue about!

The arms in the specimen held in the pic above appear to be around 150 mm or so and tolweb states that the arms are "considerably shorter" than the mantle; a fact collaborated by the photographs of young specimens included in the entry. Now if a 150 mm + mantle would be hiding underneath the arms in the palm of that gloved hand, I'd be surprised. I'd be a lot less surprised if it turned out that the arm mantle ratio changes over time, with the arms getting longer towards maturity. This appears to be the case in many cephalopods, so why not this one?

Shop Amazon

Shop Amazon
Shop Amazon; support TONMO!
Shop Amazon
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon and affiliated sites.