An Octopus Emerges

By Emily Greenhalgh

Friday, October 8 is World Octopus Day!

The California two-spot octopus (Octopus bimaculoides) is one of two species of octopus cultured at the MBL. Bimaculoides gets its common name from the iridescent blue circles, known as ocelli, on both its sides.

"I study octopuses to understand how they form their bodyplan over the course of development," said MBL Hibbitt Fellow Caroline Albertin. "I love to study them because they are so different from other animals, we have a lot to learn from them."

Albertin recently caught an amazing video of some of the MBL's octopuses. Below, you can see a clutch of Octopus bimaculoides eggs, with baby octopuses wriggling inside the casings. The creatures become very active right before hatching and then they poke a small hole at the top of their egg casing (called a "chorion"), squeeze through, and swim away.

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This video shows California two-spot octopuses (Octopus bimaculoides) emerging from their egg casings. Video Credit: Caroline Albertin.

In 2015, Octopus bimaculoides became the first cephalopod to have its genome fully sequenced. Like other members of the cephalopod class, it can instantaneously change color, regrow arms, and uses jet propulsion to move through the water. Its eight arms exhibit incredible flexibility and dexterity. Other MBL scientists study Octopus bimaculoides as a model for development, neuroscience, and behavior.

Feature photo: California two-spot octopus. Credit: Carrie Albertin

Learn more about the MBL Cephalopod Initiative