Roper, Clyde F. E., Gutierrez, A. and Vecchione, Michael
Taxonomic and ecological aspects of paralarval octopods from the Florida Current (Gulf Stream) waters off Fort Pierce, Florida are reported. Nine external morphological features were analysed in each specimen, including chromatophore patterns and meristic characters. The relative abundance of each species present in the collections made at standard stations 2–26 nautical miles (nmi) offshore at 2-nmi intervals; 1 nmi = 1.8520 km] was determined in relation to seasonal occurrence, depth of capture, distance offshore and time of day/night. The most common species in the samples was Octopus “vulgaris”, followed by Amphioctopus burryi and Macrotritopus defilippi (two morphs). Two forms could not be verified to species, but they most closely resemble Scaeurgus unicurrhus and “Octopus” joubini. The seasonal distribution of the most commonly captured species showed peak relative abundance in the summer months. Paralarval octopods were captured most frequently in the standard stations between 18 and 22 nmi (29.6–40.7 km) offshore in the mid-depth stratum of the water column. Most of the species represented in this study were captured in higher numbers at night than during the day, with the exception of A. burryi.