PORT PHILLIP BAY


Club Pygmy Octopus 

Octopus warringa 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. Small species. Mantle broadly ovoid. Head wide but narrower than mantle. Arms long, to around 3.5 times mantle length. Ventral or lateral arms longest (typically 3>4>2>1 or 3>4>2>1). Webs shallow, approximately 20-35% of arm length. Web deepest on lateral arms, shallowest between ventral arms. Suckers biserial; enlarged suckers present on all arms of mature males and females. Gills with six to eight lamellae per demibranch. Funnel organ W-shaped, outer limbs approximately 75% length of medial limbs. Funnel locking apparatus absent. Ink sac present. Right third arm of males hectocotylized, length 70-85% of opposite arm. Ligula wide, 5-10% of arm length. Ligula groove long, well marked and deep, without transverse ridges. Calamus short, 25-50% of ligula length. Hectocotylized arm with 51-65 suckers. Eggs small, length around 2-3 mm.

Colour typically orange-brown, can also match purple or pink coralline algae. Alarm pattern of black rings on upper surface of mantle. Sculpture on dorsal mantle includes approximately seven sub-parallel rows along mantle length, each consisting of three to four elongate, branched and unbranched papillae. Single large papillae forms posterior point of mantle. Multiple papillae occur in eye region including large branched papilla above each eye and numerous smaller papillae around each eye. Skin ridge around lateral margin of mantle absent. Mantle length to 35 mm, total length to 125 mm.

Taxonomy

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

General Description

Small, pygmy octopus. Body oval-shaped with pointed rear tip. Resting colour typically orange-brown, may also match purple or pink coralline algae. Alarm pattern of black rings on upper surface of mantle. Male with swollen club tip on the end of third right arm, from which species gets its common name. Mantle length to 4 cm, total length to 13 cm.

Biology

Very little is known about the biology and behaviour of this small octopus. Its small size allows it to remain hidden in the holdfasts of seaweeds and within crevices in rocky reefs and rubble. Females produce numerous small eggs, which hatch into planktonic young. This species has only been observed in the wild a couple of times.

Habitat

Rocky reefs and rubble areas, from intertidal pools to a depth of at least 144 m.

Reefs

Coastal shores

Distribution guide

New Zealand and south-eastern Australia.

Species Group

Octopuses and allies Octopuses

Depth

Shore (0-1 m)
Shallow (1-30 m)
Deep ( > 30 m)

Water Column

On or near sea floor

Max Size

13 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, Club Pygmy Octopus, Octopus warringa, in Taxonomic Toolkit for marine life of Port Phillip Bay, Museum Victoria, accessed 17 Aug 2017, http://portphillipmarinelife.net.au:8098/species/7831

Text: creative commons cc by licence