Is this the first ever record of a common blanket octopus (Tremoctopus violaceus) in East Africa?
Two female blanket octopus were caught by women fishers from Tumbatu Island in Zanzibar yesterday. Blanket octopus are rarely recorded. They demonstrate one of the most extreme examples of sexual dimorphism in the animal kingdom – males are ~2 cm in length and females ~200 cm! Blanket octopus live within the water column, unlike many other octopus species who spend their time on the sea floor.
Our catch monitoring team in Jongowe, Zanzibar, brought this octopus to our attention yesterday. The community monitoring team record octopus catch for 16 days each month; collecting important information for the community, that informs conservation management decisions and leads to a stronger community and healthier marine ecosystem.
Over the last month there have been unseasonally cold sea temperatures in the region – could this recording be caused by the change in conditions?