Arms 3-4 times the size of mantle (cf Reef Octopus, O. briareus, >x4). Reddish brown colour with reticulations is often displayed. Can alter patterns, colours quickly and dramatically. When in the open their skin is generally smooth, but in the den or actively hiding can become rough with papillae for camouflage. Dark ring around each sucker.
Largest and most common octopus in Antigua. Daytime forager (cf Reef Octopus, O. briareus, nocturnal). Dens can be located by plies of nearby molloscs and crustacean shells. On reefs, seagrass and rocks from 15-75 feet (3-25m).
Feed particularly on crabs, bivalves, and gastropods. O. vulgaris have also been found to feast on polychaete worms, other crustaceans, cephalopods, and various species of bony fishes.
Although octopuses cannot see colors, they are able to identify their prey by movement, shape, features, and scent. One method they use during hunting is known as ‘groping’ in which they use their arms to feel along rocks, sediment, and in holes for potential food . In another method they use their web for covering prey when pouncing on top of them. A third tactic involves the siphon in which they blast sediment with water to reveal buried prey.
The mechanism for effecting such rapid changes in both cases is muscular....Various pigments are held within different chromatophores in the basal skin layers with muscular action differentially occluding or exposing these cells. The skin texture, too, is controlled by contraction/ relaxation of the integument itself. The brain controls these phenomena, integrating visual inputs (plus other determinents e.g. "mood" ) then effects muscular contractions to enable such rapid changes, rather that using slower chemical reactions. Colour and texture changes are used for camouflage, whilst colour changes are also used to indicate mood and for display.
Mantle length at first sexual maturity: 9.5 cm (male); 13.5 cm (female). Male and female adults usually die shortly after spawning and brooding, respectively. Males perform various displays to attract potential females for copulation. During copulation, male grasp the female and inserts the hectocotylus into the female's mantle cavity where fertilization usually occurs. Embryos hatch into planktonic stage and live for some time before they grow larger and take up a benthic existence as adults
| Ecological Descriptors
||Mol, Cru (Pisc, Wor)
Examples of textures and colours