Tremoctopus at Molassas reef in FL

Discussion in 'Diving & Ceph Encounters' started by Thales, Feb 7, 2011.

  1. Thales

    Thales Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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  2. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    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:
     
  3. OB

    OB Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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    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...

    [​IMG]

    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:

    [​IMG]
     
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  4. CaptFish

    CaptFish Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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    I missed it! I was down that way just the other day too. That is sooooo cool.
     
  5. Thales

    Thales Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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  6. tonmo

    tonmo Titanites Staff Member Webmaster Moderator

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    Thread stuck!
     
  7. cuttlegirl

    cuttlegirl Colossal Squid Supporter Registered

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    Ok, that is the world's luckiest diver... I am sooo jealous.
     
  8. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    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.
     
  9. streetjudge79

    streetjudge79 Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    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.
     
  10. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    You are currently the envy of all members :grin: WELCOME!
     
  11. streetjudge79

    streetjudge79 Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    :) Thanks! It's been a pretty cool week after taking those pics. . I've got a few people asking me for prints of it so I set up a photo storefront on http://scubasteve.fototime.com, in case you guys wanted one. I'll put up the rest of the photos on there tomorrow.
     
  12. chrono_war01

    chrono_war01 Colossal Squid Supporter

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    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?
     
  13. skywindsurfer

    skywindsurfer Architeuthis Registered

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    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?
     
  14. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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  15. GPO87

    GPO87 Sepia elegans Staff Member Moderator

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    that is stunning. These pictures are amazing! What a great creature!
     
  16. streetjudge79

    streetjudge79 Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    That isn't a blanket octopus in that video. Completely different from what I found.






     
  17. streetjudge79

    streetjudge79 Pygmy Octopus Registered

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    DWhatley, That is not a blanket Octopus that Octobot found. It's completely different.
     
  18. OB

    OB Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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    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.
     
  19. Thales

    Thales Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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    Ob - what is there diet? Any links to papers?
     
  20. OB

    OB Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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    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.
     

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