Because of their adaptive abilities — rapid growth, short lifespans and flexible development — cephalopods are sometimes called “the weeds of the sea.” And it seems like that might be serving them well.

According to study published in Current Biology cephalopod abundance has increased since the 1950s. The reason for this growth is not yet clear, but it maybe that their adaptability has allowed them to thrive in a changing climate while other ocean dwelling populations suffer. Study author Bronwyn Gillanders says that figuring out the reason for cephalopod abundance may tell us a lot about “how human activities are changing the ocean.”


Fuzzy Nautilus Rediscovered and Filmed

by Peter Ward

At most sites around the Earth, nautiluses can be found at depths between 300 and a thousand feet. They live singly (never in schools), they grow slowly (taking up to 15 years to reach full size and reproductive age), and they are never overly abundant as they slowly swim over the deep sea beds searching for carrion on the bottom.

In all but one place on Earth, only a single nautilus species can be found at any one site.

Northeast of the main island of Papua New Guinea however, along the coast of Manus Island, made famous by the American anthropologist Margaret Mead in the earlier part of the twentieth century, not only can you find the well-known chambered nautilus (Nautilus pompilius)…

but south of Manus there is a second species as well.

It was first seen alive in 1984, and was found to be so astoundingly different in shell and soft part anatomy that it was, in 1997, give a wholly new genus name: Allonautilus scrobiculatus. And then, for the next 30 years, it wasn’t seen again…

(read more: National Geographic)

photographs by Peter Ward

What makes octopuses so awesome?

Well, here are just a few things:

Okay, so that’s a lot of awesome right there. But what about this:

Plus, they have some pretty amazing defense mechanisms, from changing color to blend in with their surroundings (or let you know they are angry):

To squeezing themselves into impossibly tiny places. (Did we mention they have no skeleton?)

And a bonus fact: octopuses live in almost all of our national marine sanctuaries!

Antarctic Octopuses Discovered With Sub-Zero Venom 

by Jess McNally

A research expedition to Antarctica to study the region’s octopus life has returned with descriptions of four new species, and the first known sub-zero venoms.

“Antarctic octopus venom works at temperatures that would stop other venoms in their tracks,” said biochemist Bryan Fry of the University of Melbourne, who led the expedition.

Antarctic octopuses eat a wide variety of animals, from clams to fish. They catch their prey with their tentacles and use their venom to kill them, much like snakes…

(read more: Wired Science)

photograph by Samuel Inglesias


Just in case anyone out there didn’t already agree that the Dumbo Octopus (Grimpoteuthis) is one of the cutest creatures on the planet, today, thanks to the oceanographers operating the Exploration Vessel Nautilus, we learned that they’re also incredibly shy. But instead of swimming away when it feels bashful, the Dumbo Octopus hides behind its own adorable tentacles. Aww!

Almost as cute as the bashful octopus itself is the reaction of the scientists watching this footage as it was being recorded.

For more adventures with the scientists operating the E/V Nautilus, follow Nautilus Live on Facebook.

[via Neatorama and Gifsboom]


Just in time for Cephalopod Week, watch Episode 8 of Shelf Life: Voyage of the Giant Squid!
Study proposes explanation for how cephalopods see color, despite black and white vision
For years, camera-makers have sought ways to avoid chromatic aberration—the color fringes that occur when various wavelengths of light focus at different distances behind a lens.

Cephalopods probably detect color by adjusting their eyes to detect different wavelengths of light, and then composite each into a “color” image of their world.