Octopods of deep reefs off Curaçao, southern Caribbean, including description of one newly discovered species
Recent exploratory research on poorly studied deep reefs in the Caribbean Sea has yielded substantial new information about the diversity of deep-reef fishes and some invertebrates, but the diversity of deep-reef cephalopods has not been assessed. Using images, videos, and specimens collected with the aid of a manned submersible, as well as DNA sequences derived from the specimens, we surveyed the cephalopod diversity of the mesophotic and rariphotic reef communities at Curacao, southern Caribbean. Among the 50 records comprising 15 specimens, 39 photos, and 15 videos, of which six specimens matched video records, we found Octopus hummelincki Adam 1937, Pteroctopus cf tetracirrhus Delle Chiaje 1830, Scaeurgus unicirrhus Delle Chiaje 1841, Paroctopus mercatoris Adam 1937, and Lepidoctopus joaquini Haimovici and Sales 2019. In addition, we found one group of octopods, with two specimens that did not correspond to any known species. We describe this as a new species. One specimen of Lepidoctopus joaquini was hectocotylized on two arms.