1. Carlie says

    That has to be the most disturbing cephalopicture you’ve ever posted. Now I’m going to have nightmares.

  2. Onycophora says

    Absolutely terrifying. There seems to be just enough room for it to bite off a toe…

  3. Nick Sullivan says

    Wow, so the beck structure has evolved to produce something akin to vertebrate teeth? Neat example of convergent evolution and I’m guessing this one has a taste for shellfish.

  4. cyan says

    This photo is at the Tree of Life website and is attributed to Richard Young at the University of Hawaii.

    Its so bizarre that I just sent him an email, hoping that he will verify that this is an unretouched photo.

  5. Goatboy says

    Suddenly my fetishitic dream, of being fellated by a Dalek, seems somewhat less far fetched.

  6. Christophe Thill says

    Thanks for introducing a moment of pure weirdness into my otherwise ordinary working day…

  7. John Phillips says

    I really love the cephalod beauties you usually display on a Friday, but that one is simply way cooool.

  8. Sampo Rassi says

    I can just see this cheery thing swimming along the deep, making “chompchompchompchomp” sounds. It’s Undersea Pacman!

  9. says

    ajay wrote: “It looks like it’s singing.”

    When I saw the picture, I immediately started humming to myself, “Hello my baby, hello my honey, hello my ragtime gal!”

  10. demallien says

    What is it with all the multi-appendaged cephalopods recently (i mean, more multi-appendaged than usual). I thought they were supposed to have 8, not 10! What are the two that don’t have suckers for?

  11. MBL says

    If that appeared anywhere other than here, I’d be certain it was a Photoshop job. Since it’s here, I’m only pretty sure it’s a Photoshop job.

    Either way, brrrrrr. :-)

  12. says

    Man… That thing’s gonna give me nightmares. Then again, it looks like it’s singing showtunes, so how scary can it be?

  13. says

    Though these pictures I’ve often enjoyed
    That’s a mouth that I’d rather avoid;
    It brings the maligned
    V. Dentata to mind
    (Look it up–it’s right there, under “Freud”).

  14. Moses says

    Oh, crap. I’m not a big octopus fan, but most of them at least don’t creep me out. However, I saw this photo the other day, can’t remember where, and I have to say that I absolutely HATE this particular Octopus.

    It’s so freaky looking with those human-like teeth. And I wasn’t entirely sure if it was a spoof.

    Now I’m even more creeped out. Thanks.

  15. Michael says

    demallien, you’re thinking of Octopi. Octopi have 8 apendages. Sqauids can have ten to twelve apendages. Nautilus can have quite a bit more, but I’m not even going to guess at that one. Anyway, hope that answers your comment, and if I’m in anyway mistaken on any of this please call me on it, I’m certainly no expert on the subject. I just think cephlapods are cool

  16. Jsn says

    Is it just me or does this remind anyone of “Clutch Cargo” ?

    (I know someone’s going to come up with a great vagina dentata joke.)

    Any animators out there? A cephalopod version of the “Rocky Horror Picture Show” introduction could be kinda cool…

  17. Stevie_C says

    Reminnds me of something from a David Cronenberg movie.

    I expect it to start talking and sounding like Burroughs.

  18. Tony says

    Surely this is the unholy union between a memeber of the Osmonds family and a Octopus….you crazy scientists! Stop now before its too late!

  19. valiantmauz says

    Though these pictures I’ve often enjoyed
    That’s a mouth that I’d rather avoid;
    It brings the maligned
    V. Dentata to mind
    (Look it up–it’s right there, under “Freud”).

    Oh. That was very good.

  20. Todd says

    Goatboy #8 – that was the best laugh I had all day.

    Unfortunately, according to the TOL website, this is the only known specimen and it’s just 25 mm long so unless they grow bigger you’re in for some disappointment.

  21. Goatboy says


    Well, until science catches up with my Fantastic Voyage fantasies anyway.

    Mmmm, Me, Raquel Welch, a Promachoteuthis sulcus, some white blood cells and Donald Pleasance.

    There’s an orgy to tell your grandkids about.

  22. says

    We discussed this a fair bit over on TONMO… Steve O’Shea got in a final word that it’s an unusual buccal mass musculature, which was my suspicion since the TOLweb didn’t mention anything weird about the mouth in the species description. See for the whole thread.

    And Michael, you’re correct that squids (and cuttlefish) like this one have ten appendages (8 arms and 2 tentacles) but they never have twelve. There are a few species of squids that lose the tentacles at adulthood so they start with ten and go to 8. Nautilus does have a lot more, 40 I believe. For completeness, Vampyroteuthis infernalis has 8 arms and two “filaments” and extinct belemnites were squid-like and had 10 hooked arms. The paper PZ posted a few months ago about nautilus development suggested that nautilus arms are produced from 5 pairs of buds, so there’s a lot of evidence that the 10 appendages is an ancestral trait and that octopus just lost one pair somewhere along the line. Interestingly, the pair modified to filaments in Vampyroteuthis are not the same ones modified to tentacles in the squid.

  23. Sven DiMilo says

    damn, Todd (#38) beat me to it, but still, these facts bear repeating:
    1. This picture is of the only–single–specimen of this species ever seen
    2. It’s only one inch long.

    And now, another attempt at the joke only I seem to appreciate:
    Vagina radula

  24. ildi says

    Someone always beats me to the punch; I was going to make the Little Shop of Horrors reference!

  25. aiabx says

    That really creeped me out. At least until I read the “hello, my baby” comnment and the cuttlefish poem. One more nightmare defused.

  26. Janine says

    So nice to have the real Pharyngula back. Perhaps all of the trolls were scared off by the guard cephalopod. I would hate to have that thing grinning at me from a dark corner.

  27. Rey Fox says

    #41: Sure, just leave out the Donald Pleasance part unless you want to give them nightmares.

  28. says

    It looks to me like the beak was just removed, but I checked the species description and there’s nothing there about the beak of P. sulcus, so I have no idea what’s going on. I actually was a reviewer for this paper and didn’t notice the weirdness of that picture the first time around…

    Someone mentioned they’d e-mailed Dick Young…what did he say?

  29. Bill Dauphin says

    Wow! A Cuttlefish limerick (with a v. dentata reference, no less!) and a Padma Lakshmi sighting!


    Well, maybe that’s stretching a point… but it is a refreshing change from the sniping and sockpuppetry going on in other threads recently. Y’all have a good weekend, y’hear?

  30. Buffybot says

    It looks like there’s a human trapped inside its body. What a horror. This shall be my new wallpaper.

  31. Lurchgs says

    Heh – I had a sequence of images zip through my mind when I first saw this.

    1) Judy Garland singing “Over the Rainbow”

    2) Feed me, Seymour!

    3) Space Angels (Clutch Cargo in space. Not that you youngsters will remember either)

    4) what a PERFECT sidekick for Rippy the Gator! (Arrogant Worms tune)

    5) MOM!

  32. Bride of Shrek says

    I am absolutely, totally, completely positive that thing is singing “Some Enchanted Evening” from South Pacific. Go on, scroll back up, have a look, tell me I’m imaging it!

  33. Bride of Shrek says

    Sorry – that should be “imagining it”. I blame the 3 chardonnays for the typo but that could also explain my South Pacific theory.

  34. cyan says

    The photographer who took this photo, Richard Young (a biologist at the University of Hawaii), has just graciously answered my query to him about it:

    “The photo has not been altered. The interpretation of what it shows has been incorrect. The squid doesn’t have teeth. The structure that looks like teeth is a circular, wrinkled lip that surrounds the beaks. Only the top and bottom the the lips are visible in the photo and the beaks are underexposed (they are black) and don’t show in the photo.”

  35. says

    So the thing that we see is a sheath,
    With the beaks tucked away underneath;
    Not as strange as before
    (And I think, what is more,
    That lips are much nicer than teeth).

  36. Sven DiMilo says

    You guys are freaking out over the vagina dentata, aren’t you?

    Hey, did I try the vagina radula thing yet?
    I did?
    sorry…carry on…