PORT PHILLIP BAY


Southern White-spot Octopus 

Octopus bunurong Stranks, 1990

View scientific description and taxonomy

Scientific Details

Eight circumoral appendages; eight arms, ventrolateral tentacles absent. Mantle cavity with one opening to exterior. Arms with numerous suckers, without horny, toothed rims. Fins absent. Dorsal border of mantle fused with head. Medium sized species. Arms long and fine, to seven times mantle length. Dorsal arms longest (1>2>3>4). Webs shallow, deepest around 9-15% of arm length. Web deepest on dorsal arms, shallowest between ventral arms. Suckers biserial; enlarged suckers absent. Gills with nine to 10 lamellae per demibranch. Funnel organ VV-shaped, outer limbs around 75% length of medial limbs. Funnel locking apparatus absent. Right third arm of males hectocotylized, length 46-82% of opposite arm. Ligula small and narrow, 9-12% of arm length. Calamus very short, 13-22% of ligula length. Hectocotylized arm with 70-96 suckers. Eggs large, around eight to 10 mm. Colour red with small white spots over body and regular transverse bands of small white spots along arms. Skin texture generally smooth or covered with numerous tiny bumps. Supra-ocular papillae absent. White skin ridge along lateral margin extends 75% of mantle length on each side of mantle - may not be visible in preserved specimens. Maximum mantle length to 95 mm, total length to around 475 mm.

Taxonomy

Phylum:
Mollusca
Class:
Cephalopoda
Subclass:
Coleoidea
Order:
Octopoda
Suborder:
Incirrata
Family:
Octopodidae
Genus:
Octopus
Species:
bunurong

General Description

Moderate-sized, elongate octopus. Body oval-shaped. Arms long, tapering to narrow tips. Body and arms red with scattering of white spots over body and regular transverse bands of small white spots along arms. Webs short, almost transparent. White skin ridge extends along 75% of mantle length on each side of mantle. Maximum mantle length to 10 cm, total length to around 48 cm.

Biology

This octopus emerges at night to forage over the sand, probing its thin arms down burrows and holes for small crustaceans. During the day this octopus remains buried deep in the sand. This octopus is an excellent burier, capable of quickly digging into the sand if threatened. Females lay large eggs that produce well-developed young, likely to settle to the seafloor quickly after hatching. Very little is known of the biology and behaviour of this octopus as it was only discovered in the late 1980's.

Habitat

Sand substrates in coastal waters to depths of around 130 m.

Soft substrates

Distribution guide

South-eastern Australia.

Species Group

Octopuses and allies Octopuses

Depth

Shallow (1-30 m)
Deep ( > 30 m)

Water Column

On or near sea floor

Max Size

47 cm

Diet

Carnivore

Harmful

Potential to bite, especially if handled. Venom status unknown.

Commercial Species

No

Global Dispersal

Native to Australia

Identify

Conservation Status

  • DSE Advisory List : Not listed
  • EPBC Act 1999 : Not listed
  • IUCN Red List : Not listed

Author

article author Finn, J.K.

Dr. Julian Finn is a Senior Curator of marine invertebrates at Museum Victoria.

Author

article author Norman, M.

Dr. Mark Norman is Head of Sciences at Museum Victoria.

citation

Cite this page as:
Finn, J.K. & Norman, M., 2011, Southern White-spot Octopus, Octopus bunurong, in Taxonomic Toolkit for marine life of Port Phillip Bay, Museum Victoria, accessed 18 Oct 2017, http://portphillipmarinelife.net.au:8098/species/7830

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