Octopus & Squid Field Guide

Octopus (Octopodidae) & Squid (Coleoidea)

Identification for divers

Blue Ring Octopus – Hapalochlaena sp.

This fascinating little creature is one of the most poisonous on earth. Its venom contains Maculotoxin – 10,000 times more potent than cyanide.

Growing to a maximum of 10cm, most are smaller with an average life span of two years.

Wonderpus – Octopus sp.

Often confused with the Mimic Octopus, this species appears to be very active during the day. Differentiating itself from the mimic it has greater marking definition being a little rustier red and creamier white markings.

The wonderpuss has taller eye stalks and is less likely to mimic but does have this ability.

Veined Octopus – Octopus marginatus

A very attractive little critter, identified by dark vein like markings on body with white suckers on the tentacles. Growing up to 15cm in length it appears quite dumpy and pygmy like with short legs. Although this species has widespread distribution throughout Indian Ocean and West Pacific, they are not commonly seen. Our creature was discovered during the day on the sandy, rubble bottom around Kapalai. If disturbed tends to gracefully “walk” over the substrate until it finds an appropriate hiding place.Typically very well camouflaged and hiding among the coral rubble.

Two Ring Blue Ring – Octopus sp.

New discovery in the surrounding waters of Kapalai, Sabah this tiny species is currently undescribed, we have therefore given it a common name of Two Ring, owing to the distinct two bright blue rings shown on the mantel when agitated. No larger than 1cm in size, we believe to be a Juvenile and expect that it wouldn’t grow larger than the Hapalochlaena, approximately 10cm. An appendage between the eyes exists, clearly illustrated in these images. Any information on this species is welcomed.

Common Day Octopus – Octopus cyanea

A relatively large species with exceptional camouflage capabilities changing colour and skin texture at super fast speeds and they are masters of escape, a 30cm span animal can squeeze into a hole the size of a coin. Their tentacles grow to about 80cm in length with their head reaching 16cm. They have an oval false eye below their true eye, only visible during certain colour changes.

Hairy Day Octopus

Like many small Octopi this species to our knowledge remains undescribed and is quite a rare find. Of all the Octopus we encounter this is perhaps the one that disappears most frequently in front of our eyes due to its extremely cryptic behavior. Moving very slowly and relying on camouflage to mimic its surroundings it will blend itself into coral rubble to the point where you can no longer see it. The adults that we’ve observed have been around 15cm in size (including tentacles). Able to change coloration in a split second but having quite distinctive reddish brown bands across the tentacles and covered in branching hairy filaments. It has long tentacles and a cone shaped body. Observed on sandy bottoms, coral reef and coral rubble areas and we assume it to be widespread across Indo Pacific. Every individual that we’ve seen has been at night or during sunset, which leads us to believe they could be nocturnal.

Squid – Coleoidea

Squids grow very quickly and live for up to one year depending on the species, however giant squid can live for up to two years or more. They are streamlined and have very large eyes

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