We recently received an email message reading “Howdy! I found this Octopus washed up at Petrel Cove and I can’t figure out what species it is. I estimate its leg span to be about 1.5m. Annelise Johnson”

The message was accompanied by this photo of the beach-washed octopus: –


Our reply to Annelise was: “Hi Annelise, That’s a beauty! The one species that occurs in SA with a large leg span is the Maori Octopus (up to 3m). What became of the specimen?”


Annelise’s response was, “I took it home to show my parents but it was decomposing pretty badly (worst smell I’ve ever smelt) so I put it out in the bin pretty quickly! I did take a print of it if you’d like a copy?”

Annelise sent us a photo of the print anyway. She also gave us permission to use the two photos that she has sent us on our website. They were both taken by Annelise’s twin sister, Dr Ashlyn Johnson.

We asked Annelise how she had done the print of the octopus. “It’s called gyotaku, it’s a Japanese printing technique. Have a look on YouTube, it’s pretty fun!” she said.

Our thanks go to Annelise for the report of her discovery. Thanks also go to her twin sister, Ashlyn for her two photographs.


By Steve Reynolds

Steve Reynolds is the current President of MLSSA and is a long-standing member of the Society. Steve is a keen diver, underwater explorer, photographer and is chief author of the Society's extensive back catalogue of newsletters and journals.

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