Animal Species:Hammer Octopus - Octopus australis

The common name – Hammer Octopus – refers to the large, club-like, modified arm tip found in mature males, which is primarily used in reproduction.

Standard Common Name

Hammer Octopus

Identification

Octopus australis are typically sandy cream in colour, with a skin risge surrounding the body, features believed to aid burying itself in sandy environments. They have long arms with slender tips.

Size range

A medium sized octopus with an armspan of up to 40cm.

Similar Species

Octopus berrima

Distribution

Subtropical waters of eastern Australia- from Hervey Bay, Queensland to Jervis Bay, New South Wales. As its scientific name suggests it is endemic to Australian waters.

Distribution by collection data

Biomaps map of Octopus australis specimens in the Australian Museum collection.

What does this mean?

Habitat

O. australis occurs primarily on sandy habitats and around seagrass beds from shallow waters to depths of about 100m.

Other behaviours and adaptations

It buries in the sand during the day and emerges at night to feed on crustaceans and fish.
Like other octopus species, O. australis has been known to use discarded human rubbish such as bottles as artificial shelter.
 

Economic/social impacts

This species is commercially harvested as a trawl bycatch in Queensland and northern New South Wales.

Classification

Species:
australis
Genus:
Octopus
Family:
Octopodidae
Order:
Octopoda
Subclass:
Coleoidea
Class:
Cephalopoda
Phylum:
Mollusca

What does this mean?

References

Norman, M & A. Reid., (2000) A Guide to Squid, Cuttlefish and Octopuses of Australasia, CSIRO Publishing, Victoria (Collingwood)

Stranks, T.N., & M.D.Norman (1992) Review of the Octopus australis complex from Australia and New Zealand, with description of a new species (Mollusca: Cephalopoda), Memoirs of the Museum of Victoria 53(2): 345-373.

Stranks, T.N., (1988) Systematics of the family Octopodidae (Mollusca: Cephalopoda) of south-eastern Australia, Department of Zoology, University of Melbourne.
 


Allison Runck
Last Updated: