NUI Galway Zoologist Co-authors New Book on Octopus, Squid and Cuttlefish

‘Football octopus’ (Ocythoe tuberculata). This is an argonautoid octopus. It has a detachable hectocotylus and the male is dwarf compared to the female. Photo: Steve O’Shea AR
Oct 19 2018 Posted: 09:56 IST

Professor Louise Allcock from the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway is a co-author of a new book published by Ivy Press. With more than 150 stunning photographs from leading underwater photographers, Octopus, Squid & Cuttlefish: A Visual Scientific Guide is a comprehensive guide to the biology and behaviour of cephalopods, a small group of highly advanced and organised marine animals.

The book features profiles of individual species and fascinating facts, including how the mimic octopus contorts its shape to resemble other animals, how the flamboyant cuttlefish can produce bands of roving colour along its body, and why the spawning ground for giant Australian cuttlefish is a site for elaborate fights between competing males.

Professor Allcock along with her co-authors, Roger Hanlon and Mike Vecchione reveals the evolution, anatomy, life history, behaviours, and relationships of these spellbinding creatures. Octopus, Squid & Cuttlefish: A Visual Scientific Guide is a treasure trove of scientific fact and visual explanation, which offers a comprehensive review of these fascinating and mysterious marine invertebrates.

While whale brains look somewhat similar to ours, cephalopods carry a large percentage of their brains in their arms. They are capable of learning, and of retaining information. They have eyes and other senses rivalling those of humans, they change texture and body shape, and they change colour faster than a chameleon.

Speaking about the book, Professor Louise Allcock from NUI Galway, said: “Cephalopods intrigue us with their intelligence, but we wanted also to capture their extreme diversity, from nautiluses, which look so like their fossil ancestors, to female pelagic blanket octopuses, with their patterned sail-like webs and dwarf males. We dive into their ancestry, unique anatomy, life histories and behaviours to showcase what are undoubtedly the most spectacular invertebrates on earth.”

Professor Louise Allcock is head of Zoology at NUI Galway and is a cephalopod coordinator for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red data list, former president of the Cephalopod International Advisory Council, and an expert in octopus systematics and evolution.

The book is published by Ivy Press and is available to purchase online at RRP €24.00 from Kennys Bookshop Ireland, at:


Marketing and Communications


Featured Stories