• José H. Leal

Meet the Glowing Sucker Octopus!

When I first saw the images of this fantastic mollusk, I thought someone had fun playing with Photoshop! Stauroteuthis syrtensis, AKA the Glowing Sucker Octopus, is found in the North Atlantic (eastern and western) at depths between 500 to 4,000 m (1,600 to 13,100 feet), mostly in the ocean zone devoid of sunlight.

Glowing Sucker Octopuses measure about 5 to 10 cm (2 to 4 inches) and seem to be fairly common off the edge of the continental shelf on the eastern coast of the United States. But what is particularly alluring in the species are the light-emitting suckers that glow in the dark! The Glowing Sucker Octopus arms each have about 40 suckers that lost their typical ability to suck, instead becoming large light-producing organs. The main functions of bioluminescence in the Glowing Sucker Octopus seem to be a combination of “luring action,” to attract planktonic crustaceans with defense strategy, to scare predators.

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