octosquid found


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Staff member
Mar 8, 2004
Cephalopodcast pointed this out over in "squid and octopus spotting"

Squid and Octopus spotting


quotes Richard Young as tentatively thinking it's Mastigoteuthis:

According to Richard Young, an oceanography professor at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, the specimen tentatively belongs to the genus Mastigoteuthis, but the species is undetermined.

War, who termed the specimen "octosquid" for the way it looked, said it was about a foot long, with white suction cups, eight tentacles and an octopus head with a squidlike mantle.

So I figured mentioning it here for the ceph taxonomy & biology folks to see, since I know not everyone reads the "culture and entertainment" posts.


Another story....

Comparing this to the Mastigoteuthis tolweb page it seems to fit. Also this specimen looks like it has the characteristic longer fourth arms. I really want to hear Steve's insight on this one.
It's not really the first octosquid, is it? I thought Vampiroteuthis was a sort of combo, too. (Please correct me if I'm wrong - I want to learn...)
Izzy;98087 said:
It's not really the first octosquid, is it? I thought Vampiroteuthis was a sort of combo, too. (Please correct me if I'm wrong - I want to learn...)

Vampyroteuthis is really a "missing link" in the octopus/squid branches of the coleoids... Phil's article on it in the Fossils and History article is pretty good reading.

Since Steve didn't chime in, I'll report that the "octosquid" name is more of an overzealous reporter problem than reality: the original report quoted Richard Young as classifying the animal in Mastigoteuthis because of arm shape, and that genus has very fragile tentacles. Steve (since I saw him the same day as the report) explained that it is entirely reasonable to expect that the tentacles would break off this animal as it was caught in a pipeline filter.

PZ Meyers posted an official news story on that as well.


of course, whoever named it the "octosquid" was being rather silly, anyway; there are a number of squids, the Octopoteuthidae, that have 8 arms and lack tentacles as adults (Taningia Danae, for a large example. The only thing octopus-like about the "octosquid" was the lack of tentacles, so it was a bit kooky that all the newswires were reporting it as some strange hybrid. One news agency actually had the guts to stand up and say "all the octosquid hype was a unwarranted":


So KPUA deserves kudos for good science reporting, as far as I'm concerned...
Hi guys!

Just back from my research trip, which ended, of all places, in Hawaii - in Dick Young's office, with the 'octosquid' in a jar on the desk. :roll: In the top photo above you can see the stumps of the tentacles. As Monty and Steve said, it's very common for squid to lose the tentacles during capture, as happened in this instance. The squid is what Dick has been calling Mastigoteuthis sp. A - hasn't been described yet, but there are 20-30 known specimens. It used to be thought the same as M. atlantica but now they know it is something else.
He was fielding about 5 phone calls a day about it while I was there... :roll:
Thanks Tintenfisch! That was a big story for sure. Octobot did catch a follow-up story which concluded that it was a squid with missing tentacles.

Welcome back home -- sorry I missed you this time around!

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