Friday, July 30, 2010

Cephalopod Photography: Lawrence Tulissi

I stumbled upon the Flickr group: Cephalopods , and decided that it was about time to put up some more eye candy on the site.  I've gotten in touch with some of the photographers whose cephalopod photos are in the group, and I'll be doing a series of posts with each post featuring the work of a single photographer. 

First on the list is Lawrence Tulissi. All of the photos in this post are click-through-able if you want a larger image - which I highly recommend - and are his property (so don't steal them.)

First is an octopus (looks like it could be O. cyanea to me, but I'm not the best at species identification) in a neat posture, with a very striking pattern of coloration.  This was taken at Truk Lagoon, which sounds like an incredible place to dive.

Chuuk 2010-090

This next one shows the suckers of a giant Pacific octopus.  I like that you can see suckers in various states of contraction, showing the great flexibility that having multiple sets of muscles in each sucker affords the octopus.


This next one is of O. briareus, the Caribbean reef octopus, showing off its long arms and exhibiting some great body patterning.  This posture is probably defensive, judging by how conspicuous its coloration is and the fact that the interbrachial web is spread.


This picture shows the eye of a giant Pacific octopus.  The description of the photo says that the octopus was in its den, and the closed pupil slit indicates that it was likely resting.  In a neat case of functional homology, octopuses, like many vertebrates, tend to close their eyes when they rest - it's just that, since they have no eyelids, they do this by closing their pupils.  If you don't believe me check out Brain and behavioural evidence for rest-activity cycles in Octopus vulgaris by Brown et al. (2006).


Moving on from octopuses (as much as it pains me), we'll finish up with two wonderful shots of Carribean reef squid, Sepioteuthis sepioidea:

Turks & Caicos 2010-005

Turks & Caicos 2010-039

Thanks for the photos, Lawrence!

Everybody else, thanks for reading.  I'll be writing on some brand-spanking-new research on the role of serotonin in the octopus learning system next week, so I'll see you then!


  1. So you got Lawrence Tulissi's permission to embed his photos on your blog? That would be good. I've noticed most bloggers don't bother doing that with copyrighted images.

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