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Little information exists on the biology or ecology of this pelagic octopod. It has a cosmopolitan distribution in tropical and subtropical waters where it lives at meso- to bathypelagic depths. The body is gelatinous, transparent and almost colourless. The peculiar long, narrow shape and position of the digestive gland is seen in the title photograph. The stomach and caecum, unlike most other octopods, is reportedly located anterior to the digestive gland. The photo, however, indicates that it actually lies on the dorsal surface of the transversely oriented digestive gland. The title photograph also shows the hectocotylized third left arm. On the other arms the suckers are enlarged outside the web (see title photograph).

Figure. Side view of the tip of hectocotylus of V. richardi, Hawaiian waters. The hectocotylus has an unusual oval vesicle with a slender papilla at its tip. Photograph by R. Young

One of the most distinctive features of V. richardi is the nearly rectangular shape of each eye as is seen from the side. The elgonate shape of the eye is inhanced by a ventral appendage (rostrum) that helps to camouflage the eye.

Figure. Lateral side of the head of V. richardi showing the unusual shape of the eye. Photograph by R. Young

The optic lobes have unusually long optic nerve stalks.

Figure. Dorsal view of the head of V. richardi showing the long optic stalks. Photograph by R. Young

Brief diagnosis:

An incirrate octopod ...

  • with heteroglossan radula.
  • with left arm IV hectocotylized but not detachable.


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