Wow! I'm very excited. There have been 1000 different people from around the world that have viewed this little blog. Mindboggling if you think about it. Who would of thought that somehow, my words would find a way to reach 46 different countries, some of which, I am sad to say, I had never heard of.
To celebrate this milestone and the many more to come, I offer you Harry the Horned Octopus (Eledone cirrhosa).
I met Harry during my Fisheries and Wildlife Management field course which took place in New Brunswick (north-eastern Atlantic). I was so excited to meet my first live octopus that all other finds we're abandoned and I stood watch by the bucket making sure the water stayed cold and occasionally letting it grab hold of my fingers with its little tentacles. What an experience. Yes, I felt the guilt of having partaken in ripping it out of its habitat at the bottom of the ocean and hauling it on board only then to be dumped on the deck with rocks, clams, sea stars and other fascinating creatures. But it was nothing compared to my exhilaration.
Harry was probably around 15-20 cm (~6-8") from the tip of its head to the end of its tentacles. It's mantle (skin) was covered with little lumps. I identified the species thanks to the two little horns, one above each eye. I failed to notice however the number of sucker disk rows on each tentacle or if it's third right arm was shorter and thinner than the rest. If it had been, it would have confirmed Harry as being a male. (So we'll never really know if Harry should of been called Harriette.) Colour wise, it changed between red, beige, and browns either uniform colours or speckled. It was amazing to watch it change so rapidly. (Harry went red when its attempts of escape where thwarted with the palm of my hand. It then sank to the bottom only to attempt again on the other side of the bucket taking the time to change its colour to a light beige, I guess trying to blend in with the white bucket). Unfortunately, like most octopus species, there is not much information available on the Horned Octopus. Harry didn't survive the trip from the boat to the lab, probably due to stress related to handling, temperature, and pressure changes.