New octopus species Alaska
A new giant octopus from the Pacific has been discovered. We had to take a closer look and use genetics to prove that it was a new species.
There is not one but two species of giant Pacific octopus. For several years now, scientists had suspected that under this name, were actually several species. In 2012, researchers at Alaska Pacific University and the US Institute of Geological Studies identified a group of giant octopus distinct from the others in Prince William Sound, Alaska. Of 21 fished octopuses, one-third differed from the giant Pacific octopus ( Enteroctopus dofleini).
The new octopus shows morphological differences with Enteroctopus dofleini. In particular, it has a kind of side collar (or jabot) formed by a semi-continuous line of taste buds. This feature has prompted researchers to call “giant octopus flanged Pacific” ( frilled giant Pacific octopus ). The frilled octopuses also have long taste buds near the eyes.
frilled giant Pacific octopus
The researchers analyzed the DNA of the new octopus and showed that it formed a species distinct from the giant octopus Enteroctopus dofleini. For the moment, the new octopus has not received an official Latin name; it will probably be classified as Enteroctopus. These results appear in the American Malacological Bulletin.
Yet this giant octopus was probably in the eyes of biologists for a long time, as David Sheel, author of this work , explains in Earther : “Presumably, people have caught these octopuses for years and nobody has ever noticed anything.”