Cephalopod Freak Show


Unfortunately, Zoologix beat us to the story of Henry the Hexapus. Henry, caught in a lobster pot off north Whales, is the first reported six-legged octopus. The loss of two limbs did not occur from a tangle with some thug octopus but rather results from a birth defect. If you’re interested in how such a thing could happen in this beautiful world, PZ has a whole post on HOX genes and cephalopod development that is good preliminary reading. How common are octopod defects? Below the fold is something we like to call Cephalopod Freak Show!

  1. Heptapus: Gledall (1989) “A male specimen of Octopus is described which has only seven arms”
  2. Double Tentacle Bifurcation in Moroteuthis ingens reported by Gonzalez and Guerra in JMBA.
  3. A decapodous Octopus briareus reported by Toll and Binger (1991)
  4. Super crazy branching in Japanese Octopuses reported by Okada (1965)
  5. Henry the Hectapus
Dr. M (1801 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Executive Director of the Lousiana University Marine Consortium. He has conducted deep-sea research for 20 years and published over 50 papers in the area. He has participated in and led dozens of oceanographic expeditions taken him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses on how energy drives the biology of marine invertebrates from individuals to ecosystems, specifically, seeking to uncover how organisms are adapted to different levels of carbon availability, i.e. food, and how this determines the kinds and number of species in different parts of the oceans. Additionally, Craig is obsessed with the size of things. Sometimes this translated into actually scientific research. Craig’s research has been featured on National Public Radio, Discovery Channel, Fox News, National Geographic and ABC News. In addition to his scientific research, Craig also advocates the need for scientists to connect with the public and is the founder and chief editor of the acclaimed Deep-Sea News (http://deepseanews.com/), a popular ocean-themed blog that has won numerous awards. His writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web.

2 Replies to “Cephalopod Freak Show”

  1. Thanks, Craig. While I always find your cephalopod posts entertaining, I’m afraid that your new upstart has raised, er, lowered the bar considerably with his last posting on the reproductive lives of bone-eating worms. Now, if we just played around with your “double tentacle bifurcation”… on second thought, scratch that idea!

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