Cephalopod beaks and tooth decay?

Florian

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Hi!

During one of my science talks on cephalopods at the Dutch Natural History Museum I was asked by a young child how an octopus brushes its teeth. I thinks it's a brilliant question. Of course, I explained that all cephalopods have a beak, but then I kept wondering about the real question. Can cephalopods have beak problems? Can there be abnormalities in beaks? Can they have ”tooth decay?” And do you see for example by an old specimen that their beaks are heavily used? Looking for a beak specialist!
 

Florian

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Seems to be a difficult question? As the beaks are found in huge numbers in the stomach of whales, they must be really strong right? If they even survive that kind of environment.
 

tonmo

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Looking for a beak specialist!
:smile: I'm no beak specialist, but I'm the proud owner of a Mesonychoteuthis beak, courtesy @Steve O'Shea! :biggrin2:

I could imagine things like a chipped beak, if the ceph sought to break something very hard or if the beak became brittle. That all seems pretty plausible, albeit rare. I'm sure it happens, though probably rare enough not to be studied closely.
 

Steve O'Shea

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It's been a long time since I've been online, Tony. Thanks for prompting me back. Maybe I'll stay this time :smile:

Florian, we've seen many a damaged beak in our time, and even beaks that appear to have been parasitized, or have trails where some irritant has scared the surface. I haven't pics or props anymore, but I have certainly seen beaks that have been repaired after having been broken, both octopus and squid, and beaks certainly do wear down with use.

Kat (Tintenfisch) even published on the dimorphic nature of beaks (and damage) in one species, Onykia ingens (as Moroteuthis ingens) many years ago.

I hope that in some way helps
Kindest
Steve
 

tonmo

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It's been a long time since I've been online, Tony. Thanks for prompting me back. Maybe I'll stay this time :smile:
Wow, :hugs: welcome back, old friend! It's so nice to hear from you, and freshly on cephs. Would be so great to have you around. I love conversing on forums and my disdain for social media (FB in particular) steadily grows... nothing against the people I'm connected with, it's about the corporations that run them. Some forums are good, some not so much, and it's all a reflection of the forum owner, staff and community. I realize it's partially self-serving and congratulatory but I love TONMO :biggrin2: ... as ever, though, it's ultimately the people that make the site!
but I have certainly seen beaks that have been repaired after having been broken
What does a repaired beak look like? Kind of like a scar / a break in the pattern?

Thanks for the link to @Tintenfisch's paper (tagging, a new feature). Great stuff.
 

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