Age of spent Octopus vulgaris and stress mark analysis using beaks of wild individuals
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Age estimation of the cephalopod Octopus vulgaris by using beaks has improved in recent years, but maximum age and longevity in the wild have not been confirmed due to the low availability of senescent wild octopuses. In this study, a beak analysis of lateral wall surfaces (LWS) from 20 spent specimens confirmed the 1-year lifecycle of the species in Central East Atlantic waters. Stress marks (checks) were clearly located in the daily increment sequence of rostrum sagittal sections (RSS). The highest daily variations in sea surface temperature (ΔT) that occurred during the last months of their lifetimes coincided with the locations of the marks on the beak, enabling confirmation of O. vulgaris beaks as life recorders for the first time. It also supports the daily deposition of RSS beak increments in the wild. Individuals were grouped into two main zones, at 20ºN and 18ºN, respectively. Both groups showed different thermal check patterns, in accordance with the oceanographic differences. Two other checks (not coinciding with high values of ΔT) were observed in RSS at averages of 15 and 28 days before death, respectively, which were interpreted as responding to senescent-related events.
KeywordsOctopus vulgaris Age Beak microstructure Check increments Oceanography Central East Atlantic
Financial support from Data Collection Framework (EC 1543/2000) and European Fisheries Found (Collective Action ANACEF-IEO: ARM/1193/2009).
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