Atlantic pygmy octopus

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Atlantic pygmy octopus
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Cephalopoda
Order: Octopoda
Family: Octopodidae
Genus: Octopus
O. joubini
Binomial name
Octopus joubini
Robson, 1929

The Atlantic pygmy octopus (Octopus joubini), also known as the small-egg Caribbean pygmy octopus, is a small octopus species in the order Octopoda. Fully grown, this cephalopod reaches a mantle length of 4.5 centimetres (1.8 in) with arms up to 9 centimetres (3.5 in) long.[1] They are known for being intelligent creatures with keen senses, particularly good sight.

O. joubini often seeks shelter from predators in empty clamshells, cans or small openings, pulling the opening closed with its arms, combining sand and gravel to form a lid.[2] It employs the two defensive mechanisms typical of all octopuses: ink sacs and camouflage. All Cephalopods have chromatophores, special pigmented and light reflecting cells on their skin which allows them to change colour and texture quickly.

Life cycle[edit]

Females of this species breed between March and June, laying elliptical, amber eggs in a sheltered place. The hatchlings are relatively small (0.04 g), but are fully formed and can hunt within hours. They reach maturity in around 182 days and weigh about 30 g at this time.[3]


Like all octopuses, O. joubini is carnivorous. It is able to bore into the hard shells of small clams, crustaceans, or other creatures. It uses its radula, a small, spikey, tongue like structure, to drill a hole in the prey's shell, and proceeds to secrete poisonous saliva out of its beak to paralyze its victim. While the Atlantic pygmy octopus feeds primarily on small crustaceans, only a few species have been recorded as prey of this species in the wild. In laboratory conditions, this diet is expanded considerably.


  1. ^ Norman, M.D. 2000. Cephalopods: A World Guide. ConchBooks.
  2. ^ Gulf Specimen Marine Laboratory, "Octopuses and Squids" Archived February 25, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ Wood, J.B. & R.K. O'Dor 2000. "Do larger cephalopods live longer? Effects of temperature and phylogeny on interspecific comparisons of age and size at maturity" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2004-12-14. (134 KiB) Marine Biology 136(1): 91–99.

External links[edit]