Wow. Every person on the planet saw one version or another of this "Octopolis" story and had to send it to me. It was the subject of a Friday Cephalopod a year ago, you know. Apparently, this is the second octopus city discovered, which is interesting -- they're exhibiting more complex social behaviors. However, I have two complaints. A lot of the stories are describing Octopolis/Octlantis as "gloomy". Why? Is it because the inhabitants aren't swimming around with toothy grins? The cephalopods look quite normal to me. A more serious complaint, about this quote: The discovery was a…
Pale, drifting quietly, long grasping arms, cold and anoxic…we all float down here. Yes, I'm going to go see It this evening. It won't be half as creepy as the reality of the dark deep, though.
I think it's a portrait of my mood right now.
First, a little background: When squid mate, a male transfers its sperm to a female enclosed in complex structures called spermatophores. These are accumulated in the spermatophoric sac, a storage organ inside the mantle cavity, before ejaculation through the penis. Squid that spawn in shelf waters and epipelagic waters of the open ocean usually have short penes hidden completely inside the mantle. Males pick the ejaculated spermatophores from inside their mantle with a specially modified arm called the hectocotylus, to transfer them to the female. Females spawning in shallow water have…
If you've ever wondered what squid ink is made of, here's your answer: Generally, cephalopod ink includes melanin, enzymes related to melanin production, catecholamines, peptidoglycans, free amino acids and metals. But mostly melanin. And mucus.
Time to forage.
You Californians have no excuse. Go to the coast and stop by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute and see the Vampyroteuthis. Oh, wait, that's the fake inflatable one. I don't think you'll get to dive down into the deep dark and see a real one. You might not want to.
Living a languorous life and occasionally nibbling on a jellyfish has its virtues.
We're making the planet a better place for cephalopods. It also helps that humans are busily destroying teleost populations. David Wiltshire P.S. There's a video at the link titled "8 reasons octopuses rule the oceans". Don't bother with it. It is 8 incredibly idiotic reasons that have nothing to do with their success. I felt stupider after watching it.
Trapped in a cunning prison! Oh, no, what are you doing now? Foiled again!
Roy Caldwell, via Tony Morelli
I usually only have good things to say about cephalopods, but it's hard to avoid the truth here: vampire squid aren't exactly beauty queens. MBARI
I was reading this account of an encounter between three cuttlefish -- a consort male escorting a female, who is challenged by an intruder -- and the story was weirdly familiar. The intruder’s pupil dilation and arm extension began the first of three brief bouts over the course of about four minutes, each with escalating levels of aggression. The consort male met the initial insult with his own arm extension and — as only color-changing animals like cuttlefish can do — a darkening of his face. Then both males flashed brightly contrasting zebra-like bands on their skin, heightening the war of…
Coral Reef Photos
And we liked it! The Nautilus Files
Did you know cephalopods may have traded evolution gains for extra smarts? I didn't either. I don't believe it, anyway. The paper is fine, though, it's just the weird spin the media has been putting on it. The actual title of the paper is Trade-off between Transcriptome Plasticity and Genome Evolution in Cephalopods, which is a lot more accurate. The authors discovered that there's a lot of RNA editing going on in coleoids. The process is not a surprise, we've known about RNA editing for a long time, but the extent in squid is unusual. RNA editing is basic college-level stuff, so if your…