• TONMOCON VII Announced | MBL at Woods Hole | Apr 6-8, 2018
  • Thanks for visiting! TONMO is the world's greatest online cephalopod enthusiast community, with interactive content going back to May of 2000, and a biennial conference. If you'd like to join in on the fun, become a TONMO member -- it's easy and free. You can follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more cephy goodness.


Tremoctopus at Molassas reef in FL

DWhatley

Cthulhu
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Sep 4, 2006
Messages
19,901
Location
Gainesville, GA
#2
Thanks, I sent the link on Ken and Kara (they dive molasses a lot for coral planting) and suggested they watch for one. I did mention that they are not aquarium animals so catching one for me was not being suggested :grin:
 

OB

Colossal Squid
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Oct 19, 2003
Messages
3,086
#3
Wow! Stunning as ever, but which species might it be, I have never seen this mottled appearance in T. violaceus violaceus before, although this picture @ tolweb suggests otherwise, hmmmm...



Then again, the specimen in this shot was identified as T. violaceus gracilis, and it has the spots as shown in the reefcentral pics. I have a sneeking suspicion, however, that ID's from photographs may be not quite be what they're cracked up to be :wink:

 

CaptFish

Colossal Squid
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Jul 9, 2009
Messages
2,833
Location
South Florida
#4
I missed it! I was down that way just the other day too. That is sooooo cool.
 

DWhatley

Cthulhu
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Sep 4, 2006
Messages
19,901
Location
Gainesville, GA
#8
Thales' link has an interview with the diver and he is suitably excited. I'll bet he will never dive without a camera now (he really got some terrific shot!). According to the news coverage, they are actually common in the Atlantic but normally stay further out in the gulf Stream and are rarely seen by divers. The weather has been bringing in lots of critters (the man-o-war being the least desired) of late.
 

streetjudge79

Pygmy Octopus
Registered
Joined
Feb 8, 2011
Messages
10
#9
Blanket Octopus

Hey guys, I'm the lucky diver that photographed it. One of the members suggested I join here . It was pretty crazy seeing that thing in person. Nobody had any clue what it was, I just started snapping pics of it.
 

chrono_war01

Colossal Squid
Supporter
Joined
Oct 7, 2004
Messages
2,580
#12
DWhatley;172060 said:
Thales' link has an interview with the diver and he is suitably excited. I'll bet he will never dive without a camera now (he really got some terrific shot!). According to the news coverage, they are actually common in the Atlantic but normally stay further out in the gulf Stream and are rarely seen by divers. The weather has been bringing in lots of critters (the man-o-war being the least desired) of late.
Do tell about the man-o-war, how big do they usually get and how much of a danger is a diver in if there are say...a few in the area of the diving location?
 

skywindsurfer

Architeuthis
Registered
Joined
Aug 13, 2009
Messages
1,727
#13
Wow...the photographs are just breath taking. Can anyone tell me if there are any physological differences between the sexes of this species like the differences between Argonauts? Also I noticed some of you speaking a various different species. I thought that there was only one species of blanket octopus. Are they more, and how many does science know about?
 

OB

Colossal Squid
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Oct 19, 2003
Messages
3,086
#18
Streetjudge, it is the same genus, no doubt, (sub)species is a different question. There are currently at least three species "accepted" by mainstay cephalopod science, the gelatinous blanket octopus, Tremoctopus gelatus, Tremoctopus robsoni and the palmate octopus, Tremoctopus violaceus gracilis and its sister subspecies the common blanket octopus, Tremoctopus violaceus violaceus. "Your" Tremoctopus and the Del Ray specimen are anatomically very much the same, but only appear different in coloration, the latter showing the distinct dark purple hue dorsally and the silver to orange, ventrally, that seems to typify T. violaceus violaceus. The mottled, or "spotty" appearance of your specimen is a pattern I would normally associate with T. violaceus gracilis, but you'd need proper DNA sequencing done to corroborate the evidence. Again, understanding Octopus species on visuals alone is very hard, as they have the ability to change their color, skin texture and even body shape to a certain extent, making a positive ID from a static photograph alone quite close to impossible.

@skywindsurfer, the sexual dimorphism between male and female Tremoctopus is likely the largest of all cephalopods, much as with the closely related Argonauta.

@chrono_war01, the Portuguese Manowar's tentacles are usually between 10 and 15 meters long, and the nematocysts will fire off a venom when in contact that causes (sometimes) severe pain for up to two hours or so, but is hardly ever lethal, bar the occasional rare reported event (in which case anaphylactic shock might be the culprit, perhaps?).

Additional trivia: juvenile female and male Tremoctopus actually "harvest" Physalia nematocysts to tote as weapons of self defense on their dorsal arm pairs.
 

OB

Colossal Squid
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Oct 19, 2003
Messages
3,086
#20
Will look up. Interestingly enough T. v. gracilis should be confined to the indo-pacific, whereas I am fairly positive it has been sighted near Malta at least on one occasion. I am always weary about "certainties" in pelagic species, certainly regarding geographic spread.
 

Members online