Opisthoteuthis californiana

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Flapjack octopus
Opisthoteuthis californiana.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Cephalopoda
Order: Octopoda
Family: Opisthoteuthidae
Genus: Opisthoteuthis
Species: O. californiana
Binomial name
Opisthoteuthis californiana
Berry, 1949

Opisthoteuthis californiana, also known as the flapjack octopus, is a species of octopus.


The Flapjack Octopus usually appears as transparent to dark red.[1] Their maximum size is 20 cm mantle length.[1] They have eight jointed legs which are affixed together in an umbrella shape.[2] They have a gelatinous body, which spreads into a parachute shape when maneuvering through dimly lit water.[2] The flapjack preys on small fishes and plank-tonic crustaceans.[1] They swim by moving their fins, pulsing their webbed arms, pushing water through their funnel for jet propulsion, or all three at once.[3] Their depth range is: Para-larvae 200m, adults 500-1500m.[1]


This species has been reported off Eureka Bar, California, at 350 m. It is also known from Japan, off Kashima-Nada, at 530–560 m. Nesis (1982/87) reports it from the Bering Sea to the Sea of Okhotsk to off central Honshū in the northwestern Pacific and to off southern California in the northeastern Pacific.


The Opisthoteuthis californiana is one of 14 species in the Opisthoteuthis genus. These species are also known as the flapjack devilfishes.

Species of Opisthoteuthis are the most compressed, in the anterior-posterior axis, of any cephalopod. This flattened appearance gives them the common name of flapjack or pancake devilfish. Species are thought to be primarily benthic although they are capable of swimming and in some species the swimming may be an important component of their pouncing on minute prey. As in other cirrates, most species are poorly known.

Popular culture[edit]

  • The flapjack octopus has been made famous by Pearl, the pink octopus character in the Disney/Pixar 2003 film Finding Nemo. However, according to one of the scientific consultants on the film, Adam Summers, "Pearl would be pink mush since flapjack octopuses (Opisthoteuthis californiana) are abyssal creatures. They reside only at great depths".[4]
  • Chuchu, one of Kirby's Animal Friends from the 1997 Super Nintendo game Kirby's Dream Land 3, is a flapjack octopus.


  1. ^ a b c d Jorgensen, Elaina (2009). Field Guide to Squids and Octopods of the Eastern North Pacific and Bering Sea. Fairbanks, Alaska: Alaska Sea Grant College. pp. 69–70. ISBN 978-1-56612-139-2. 
  2. ^ a b Dodrill, Tara (June 16, 2015). "Flapjack Octopus". Inquisitr. Retrieved June 28, 2016. 
  3. ^ "Flapjack Octopus". Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. Retrieved November 20, 2015. 
  4. ^ LaFee, Scott (June 18, 2003). "Expert helps 'Nemo' stay to scale". The San Diego Union-Tribune.

External links[edit]