Animal Species:Pale Octopus - Octopus pallidus

Octopus pallidus is often found in the same habitat as the Southern Keeled Octopus, but lacks the skin ridge or ‘keel’ of this other octopus species.

Standard Common Name

Pale Octopus

Identification

Octopus pallidus is a robust, muscular species with a solid body and short, stout arms of subequal length. It has a number of sharp spikes of skin over the body which can be raised, along with a regular patchment of small raised oval patches over their entire body and arms.

Size range

Medium sized octopus with an armspan up to 60cm in length.

Similar Species

Southern Keeled Octopus

Distribution

Common in bays and coastal waters of Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania. Less commonly found in waters of southern NSW.

Habitat

The pale octopus occurs on sand substrates, often in association with sponge gardens or beds of sea squirts. It has been found in shallow waters to depths of almost 600m.

Feeding and Diet

The Pale Octopus emerges at night to feed on crustaceans and shellfish, primarily collecting shellfish which it pulls apart or drills using its sharp-toothed tongue to poison the occupant and gain entry.

Other behaviours and adaptations

O. pallidus hides during the day in rubble, empty sea squirt cases or human rubbish. The pointed and branched digits of skin present over the body can be raised to help with camouflage.

The female lays large eggs which are attached singly to hard surfaces. The hatchlings are well-developed with good skin sculpture and camouflage. They crawl away after hatching and immediately start to forage.
 

Economic/social impacts

This species is harvested on a small scale using unbaited plastic pots which the octopuses use as shelter- to be primarily used as bait.

Classification

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

What does this mean?

References

Norman, M., (2000) Cephalopods- A World Guide, ConchBooks, Germany (Hackenheim)

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

Stranks, T. (1986) Study of the Octopus of south-eastern Australia, SAfish 10(3) pg 9.

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


Allison Runck
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