Seven-arm octopus

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Seven-armed octopus
Haliphron atlanticus (70 mm ML).jpg
Ventral view of young female (70 mm ML)
Haliphron atlanticus1.jpg
Lateral view of young male
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Cephalopoda
Order: Octopoda
Family: Alloposidae
Verrill, 1881
Genus: Haliphron
Steenstrup, 1861
H. atlanticus
Binomial name
Haliphron atlanticus
  • Alloposus mollis
    Verrill, 1880
  • ?Octopus alberti
    Joubin, 1895
  • Alloposus pacificus
    Ijima & Ikeda, 1902
  • Heptapus danai
    Joubin, 1929
  • Alloposus hardyi
    Robson, 1930
  • ?Alloposina albatrossi
    Robson, 1932

The seven-arm octopus (Haliphron atlanticus) is one of the two largest known species of octopus; based on scientific records, it has a maximum estimated total length of 3.5 m (11 ft) and mass of 75 kg (165 lb).[3][4] The only other similarly large extant species is the giant Pacific octopus, Enteroctopus dofleini.

The genera Alloposina Grimpe, 1922, Alloposus Verrill, 1880 and Heptapus Joubin, 1929 are junior synonyms of Haliphron, a monotypic genus in the monotypic family Alloposidae, part of the superfamily Argonautoidea in the suborder Incirrata of the order Octopoda.[2]


Egg string and embryos of H. atlanticus collected north of the Cape Verde Islands (17°24′N 22°57′W / 17.400°N 22.950°W / 17.400; -22.950): The eggs measure around 8 mm at their widest.

The seven-arm octopus is so named because in males, the hectocotylus (a specially modified arm used in egg fertilization) is coiled in a sac beneath the right eye. Due to this species' thick, gelatinous tissue, the arm is easily overlooked, giving the appearance of just seven arms. However, like other octopuses, it actually has eight.


The type specimen of H. atlanticus was collected in the Atlantic Ocean at 38°N 34°W / 38°N 34°W / 38; -34. It is deposited at the University of Copenhagen Zoological Museum.[5]

Since then, several specimens have been caught throughout the Atlantic, as far as the Azores archipelago[6] and near South Georgia Island.[7]

In 2002, a single specimen of giant proportions was caught by fishermen trawling at a depth of 920 m off the eastern Chatham Rise, New Zealand. This specimen, the largest of this species and of all octopuses, was the first validated record of Haliphron from the South Pacific. It had a mantle length of 0.69 m (2.3 ft), a total length of 2.90 m (9.5 ft), and a weight of 61.0 kg (134.5 lb), although it was incomplete.[3][4]


Isotopic,[7] photographic and video evidence[6] have shown complex interactions between H.atlanticus and jellyfish and other gelatinous zooplankton, from feeding to protection, respectively.

Beak morphology[edit]

Lower (left) and upper beaks of female Haliphron atlanticus (estimated 150 mm ML) in lateral view
3d glasses red cyan.svg 3D red cyan glasses are recommended to view this image correctly.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Allcock, L. (2014). "Haliphron atlanticus". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2014: e.T163207A983527. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2014-3.RLTS.T163207A983527.en. Downloaded on 05 February 2018.
  2. ^ a b Julian Finn (2017). "Haliphron Steenstrup, 1859". World Register of Marine Species. Flanders Marine Institute. Retrieved 5 February 2018.
  3. ^ a b O'Shea, S. (2002). "Haliphron atlanticus — a giant gelatinous octopus" (PDF). Biodiversity Update. 5: 1.
  4. ^ a b O'Shea, S. (2004). "The giant octopus Haliphron atlanticus (Mollusca : Octopoda) in New Zealand waters". New Zealand Journal of Zoology. 31 (1): 7–13. doi:10.1080/03014223.2004.9518353.
  5. ^ Current Classification of Recent Cephalopoda
  6. ^ a b Rosa, R.; Kelly, J.; Lopes, V.; Paula, J.; Goncalves, J.; Calado, R.; Norman, M.; Barreiros, J. (2017). "Deep-sea seven-arm octopus hijacks jellyfish in shallow waters". Marine Biodiversity. doi:10.1007/s12526-017-0767-3.
  7. ^ a b Guerreiro, M.; Phillips, R.; Cherel, Y.; Ceia, F.; Alvito, P.; Rosa, R.; Xavier, J. (2015). "Habitat and trophic ecology of Southern Ocean cephalopods from stable isotope analyses" (PDF). Marine Ecology Progress Series. 530: 119–134. doi:10.3354/meps11266.

Further reading[edit]

  • Bakken, T. & T. Holthe 2002. Haliphron atlanticum (Cephalopoda, Alloposidae) caught in Skorafjorden (64°N), Norway. Fauna norv. 22: 37-38.
  • Willassen, E. 1986. Haliphron atlanticus Steenstrup (Cephalopoda: Octopoda) from the coast of Norway. Sarsia 71: 35-40.

External links[edit]