There are some 300 known species of octopus. From the huge giant Pacific octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini) to the tiny poisonous blue-ringed octopus (genus Hapalochlaena), from the shallow-water mimic octopus (Thaumoctopus mimicus) to the deep-sea Dumbo octopus (genus Grimpoteuthis).
But most of what we know about the animal comes from a few well-studied, (semi) lab-tolerant species. Namely the common octopus (Octopus vulgaris) and the two-spot octopus (Octopus bimaculoides).
There are many, many, many species that have are rarely studied in a lab.
In a lab at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology in Japan, one team of researchers is scouring the diverse local seas for octopuses to study. And they're sharing what they find—on a new website called Octosquid. (Octosquid.io, as its name suggests, features different types of cephalopods—including octopus, squid and cuttlefish.)
But there, you don't just get to meet octopuses and squid. You get a high-res (and often filmed) glimpse into the lab. These octopuses are put on display for any online visitor to see and to learn about.
You can get an up-close and personal look at the Octopus laqueus, a small Pacific octopus that shrugs off the octopus convention of solitary life. They have been found living at least two to a den, suggesting they are at least socially tolerant—if not social.
You can also see a glimpse of the Octopus wolf—or star-suckered octopus—one of the smallest octopus species we know. Full-grown adults can top out below 1.8 inches long. Some kraken.
Gander at some more stunning cephalopods over at Octosquid. And stay tuned as they share more of their lab companions.
Learn even more about the strange world of the octopus in Octopus! The Most Mysterious Creature In the Sea, now also out in paperback!
Illustration courtesy of Ivan Phillipsen