Stauroteuthis : The Glowing Octopus.


TONMO Supporter
Nov 19, 2002
OK, this could equally fit into the 'Physiology and Biology' forum, but I thought I would post this article here. The recent discovery of bioluminescence in the deep water octopus Stauroteuthis has some interesting evolutionary implications:

Science Daily Article - Stauroteuthis

and there is a great video of Stauroteuthis here (along with a few others):

Stauroteuthis Video

I'm sure Steve and Tintenfisch could correct me, but it seems that this is the only cirrate octopus which displays bioluminescence. The implication here is that the animal's suckers evolved a secondary function of bioluminescence as the animals ancestors adopted increasingly deep water habitats. The original function of the suckers, i.e to grasp rocks and the sea floor, became redundant, as the creature slowly adapted to a deep water pelagic niche. Slowly the suckers changed from their original function to that of a light producing organ, probably to attract prey items such as copepods. (Kat mentioned this in her article on Deep-Sea Cephalopods).

It seems we are looking at a fascinating example of evolution in action!
OMG, that's bizarre! I just saw this thread now (had missed it the first time)... and isn't it strange that I picked this species to spotlight in Sunday's Newsletter? The link I provided (a four-year-old news article) was this one:

From Suck to Glow

That's too weird for me. But yes, Phil, I'm equally fascinated by this creature! Now, why do you say "recent"? Did you mean relatively recent, as in, four years is recent when considering the age of our universe, or recent as in there was some news that happened in the past few days/weeks/months that I'm missing?

Thanks... :bonk:
Strange Tony! I assumed that you had read the link I posted here and did your own bit of net-detective work, prompting you to post your own link. Obviously not!

By the way, I considered four years to be relatively recent, on a cosmic scale, that is.
There is a brand new amazing photograph of Stauroteuthis syrtensis in full parachute mode available here:

The specimen was photographed at 725m depth in the Gulf of Maine.Click to enlarge the photo; it is a stunner.

Also worth looking at is the rare video footage of a 15 ft Greenland shark colliding with the submersible; a very impressive animal indeed.
Fujisawas Sake said:
Wow, that Greenland Shark looksn a lot like a Sleeper Shark.

John, there is a very good reason for this. They are two different names for the same animal!

Thankyou 'Sharks and Rays: Elasmobranch Guide to the World' by Ralf Hennemann.

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