|Wunderpus photogenicus |
Hochberg, Norman & Finn, 2006
Wunderpus photogenicus n. gen. and n. sp. is a spectacular long-armed species that occurs on soft sediment habitats in shallow waters (typically less than 20 m deep) in Indo-Malayan waters. It is characterized by small eyes on elongate stalks, a long, conical papilla over each eye and a dramatic and fixed color pattern of white bars and spots over a brown-red background. The distribution of the species is centered in the Indo-Malayan Archipelago and extends from Vanuatu to Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and Malaysia, north to the Philippines. Animals typically emerge at dusk and dawn to forage in the twilight, primarily catching small crustaceans and fishes by flaring the arms and webs over patches of sand or coral rubble to trap enclosed (and typically buried) prey. The species also extends its arms into holes to probe for potential prey. The distinctive color pattern of this species is most pronounced when the octopus is disturbed or threatened by real or perceived attackers. It appears to be a warning display and may represent one of two scenarios: either 1) it warns that the octopus is directly toxic or venomous by nature or; 2) it represents impersonations of toxic or venomous creatures with similar color patterns which cooccur in the same habitat. The new genus and species is compared with, and distinguished from, other long-armed octopuses.
Key words: Wunderpus, octopus, Octopodidae, Cephalopoda, Indo-Malayan Archipelago, taxonomy
Wunderpus photogenicus n. gen. and n. sp.
Etymology: Wunderpus: from the German ‘wünder’ meaning “marvel or wonder”. Specific name in recognition of the considerable photographic interest in this spectacular species in the media in recent years.
Common Name “Wunderpus”.
Distribution: Wunderpus photogenicus n. sp. is known from shallow waters of the tropical Indo-Malayan Archipelago from Indonesia and the Philippines, east to Papua New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu (Fig. 6). Reports from underwater photographers and data from collected specimens indicate a depth range from 0.5 to at least 20 m.
F.G. Hochberg, Mark D. Norman and Julian K. Finn. 2006. Wunderpus photogenicus n. gen. and sp., A New Octopus from the Shallow Waters of the Indo-Malayan Archipelago (Cephalopoda: Octopodidae). Molluscan Research. 26(3); 128–140.
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