Spots of the Wunderpus

Neogonodactylus on

Photo identification is a reliable method for identifying a large number of marine animals in the wild and is useful in observational tracking studies that help us understand the ranges and movements of individuals and groups.  Its especially valuable for animals which are simply too big or too large and dangerous to mark and release with tags, transponders, chips, or other identifiers.  Previously photo-ID has been widely used with many marine mammals like bottlenose dolphin, killer whales, and manatees.  Apparently now we might be able to use it to track the wunderpus octopusReally. 

Check out the photobank at WUNDERPIX.  And if you have Wunderpus pix you can actually submit them to the bank!


3 Comments to “Spots of the Wunderpus”

  1. It’s interesting how once we develop a familiarity for a group, how we can start to distinguish from individuals more. But its a learning curve to train our eyes that way.

  2. “But its a learning curve to train our eyes that way.”

    We wondered about that too, so we tested how well volunteers (who typically had no previous exposure to Wunderpus) could match multiple photos of the same individual. They did a remarkably great job.

  3. Look at that, feedback right from one of the researchers! Thanks for stopping in Crissy. 🙂 Once you have a marker that varies significantly its pretty easy to continue identifying individuals. Its a stroke of genius to go with the rings on these octopus species whereas you might go with prop scar patterns on manatees or dorsal fin shapes on cetaceans. Or cirri placement in seahorses and sea dragons.. and on and on.