Identifying deep-sea octopus by their warts

A graneledone verrucosa octopus.
The distribution of warts on the arms and mantle of Graneledone verrucosa octopus can be used to tell them apart.
Credit: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association

Even seasoned cephalopod-watchers can have a hard time distinguishing some species of octopus from other, similar species, especially among deep ocean creatures that are rarely seen.

Now American researchers have spotted a tell-tale difference between two closely related species, Graneledone verrucosa (found in the Atlantic ocean) and Graneledone pacifica (found in the Pacific): The Pacific ones have more warts.

“This study should make future octopus analysis easier and more rigorous,” says Janet Voight of the Field Museum in Chicago, one of the researchers.

The work is published in Marine Biology Research.

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