Animal Species:Southern Keeled Octopus - Octopus berrima

The Southern Keeled Octopus is common in shallow coastal waters of south-eastern Australia, although it is often confused with the morphologically similar Octopus australis. It is often caught incidentally during scallop and mussel dredging.

Standard Common Name

Southern Keeled Octopus

Identification

Octopus berrima is typically cream to light brown with a skin-keel around the mantle edge. It has large papilla over each eye.

Size range

Armspan of up to 50cm

Similar Species

Hammer Octopus – Octopus australis

Distribution

Octopus berrima is endemic to more temperate seas off southern New South Wales and southern Australia, as opposed to the similar O.australis which is endemic to subtropical waters of Southern Queensland and central New South Wales.

Distribution by collection data

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

What does this mean?

Habitat

This species is most common in sand habitats and seagrass beds in shallow waters, although it has been captured at depths greater than 250m.

Feeding and Diet

Feeds primarily on crabs and other crustaceans.

Other behaviours and adaptations

When agitated, Octopus berrima will flares its webs and darken chromatophores present around the eyes. Like its relative, the Hammer Octopus, the Southern Keeled Octopus hides in the sand during the day or uses rocks and human rubbish as shelter.

Mating and reproduction

The female lays large eggs and attaches them singly to hard rocky surfaces. The hatchlings are well-developed and immediately settle in the seafloor and start foraging.

Economic/social impacts

Forms the basis of small-scale octopus pot fisheries in South Australia and Victoria.

Classification

Species:
berrima
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.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.
 


Allison Runck
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