Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    australis
    Genus
    Octopus
    Family
    Octopodidae
    Order
    Octopoda
    Subclass
    Coleoidea
    Class
    Cephalopoda
    Phylum
    Mollusca
  • Size Range
    A medium sized octopus with an armspan of up to 40cm.

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

Identification

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

Habitat

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

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.

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 impacts

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

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.