Rare curled octopus filmed in Wales

By Guest Writer

The post appeared first on: Visit divemagazine.com
Author: Mark ‘Crowley’ Russell

curled octopus filmed on north wales beach

Rare footage of a curled octopus (Eledone cirrhosa)has been recorded by a member of the Marine Conservation Society’s Hiraeth Yn Y Môr Project close to the Menai Bridge on the shores of the Isle of Anglesea (Ynys Môn in the Welsh language) in North Wales, UK.

Project Assistant Ciara Taylor was practising marine identification skills for the Hiraeth Yn Y Môr Project – which loosely translates as a ‘yearning, or nostalgia for the sea’ – when fellow rockpoolers spotted some tentacles peeking from under a rock.  

‘I met two other young people who were rockpooling and one of them saw some tentacles sticking out from under a rock,’ said Ms Taylor. ‘They shouted over to me, so I ran over, and then we waited. It eventually came out and started crawling back towards the sea!

‘We couldn’t believe it. It was an amazing reminder of the beautiful wildlife we have in North Wales and why we need to protect it.’ 

The footage shows white tentacles appearing from underneath a rock and, slowly, the full body of the octopus appears before it quickly changes colour to orange and crawls away across rocks and seaweed. The octopus made it safely back into the sea. 

Curled octopus are found in the northeast Atlantic from Norway to the Mediterranean and are known to inhabit the waters around the British Isles. They can reach a total of around 50cm in length, although they often keep their arms tightly curled, hiding their true size.

The Marine Conservation Society’s Seasearch programme, which asks rockpoolers, snorkellers and divers to record marine life, reported an increase in octopus numbers in 2022. It is thought that increases in the population of curled octopus may be due to overfishing of their natural predators, such as Atlantic cod.

Angus Jackson, Seasearch Data Officer at the Marine Conservation Society, said, ‘Curled octopus are found here all the time, and we get a handful of records every year. In contrast, we very seldom receive records for Mediterranean or common octopus.

‘The summer and autumn of 2022 were fascinating exceptions, where there appeared to be a boom in the population of common octopus, and we received many records. Such booms have been noted in the past, but not for several decades.’

In 2023 Seasearch received more records of common octopus than usual, but not as many as in 2022. Octopus don’t live much more than a year, so it may be that the conditions that allowed the boom have changed.  

The charity is asking for more people to join their Seasearch programme to help identify marine life trends and help inform scientists more about the UK’s changing seas.  

The post Rare curled octopus filmed in Wales appeared first on DIVE Magazine.

View Source:divemagazine.com.