Project 2299: E. K. Shea, A. Ziegler, C. Faber, T. M. Shank. 2018. Dumbo octopod hatchling provides insight into early cirrate life cycle. Current Biology. 28 (4):R144-R145.
Specimen: Grimpoteuthis sp. (USNM:1460905)
View: Habitus


Cirrate octopods (Cephalopoda: Cirrata) are among the largest invertebrates of the deep sea. These organisms have long been known to lay single, large egg capsules on hard substrates on the ocean bottom, including cold-water octocorals (Anthozoa: Octocorallia). The egg capsule is comprised of an external egg case as well as the chorion and developing embryo. Development in cirrates proceeds for an extended time without parental care. Although juveniles have previously been collected in the midwater, cirrate hatchlings have so far never been observed. Here, we provide the first video of a living hatchling and use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to analyze its anatomy and assign the specimen to the genus Grimpoteuthis, the so-called dumbo octopods. The specimen?s behavior and advanced state of organ development show that cirrate hatchlings possess all morphological features required for movement via fin-swimming, for visually and chemically sensing their environment, and for prey capture. In addition, the presence of a large internal yolk sac reduces the risk of failure at first feeding. These data provide evidence that dumbo octopods hatch as competent juveniles.

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Article DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2018.01.032

Project DOI: 10.7934/P2299,
This project contains
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MorphoBank Project 2299

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    Authors' Institutions

    • Universitaet Muenster (Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster)

    • Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn (University of Bonn)

    • Delaware Museum of Natural History

    • Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution


    member name taxa specimens media media
    Alexander Ziegler
    Project Administrator
    Cornelius Faber
    Full membership
    Tim Shank
    Full membership
    Liz Shea
    Full membership

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