Antarctic Science

Research Article

Molecular evolutionary relationships of the octopodid genus Thaumeledone (Cephalopoda: Octopodidae) from the Southern Ocean

J.M. Strugnella1a2 c1, M.A. Collinsa1 and A.L. Allcocka2

a1 British Antarctic Survey, NERC, High Cross, Madingley Rd, Cambridge CB3 0ET, UK

a2 Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, School of Biological Sciences, Queen's University Belfast, Belfast BT9 7BL, UK


Recent trawling in the Southern Ocean has yielded individuals of a number of species of the deep sea octopod genus Thaumeledone. This paper provides the first molecular study of the genus, employing molecular sequences from five mitochondrial (12S rDNA, 16S rDNA, COI, COIII, cytochrome oxidase b) and a single nuclear gene (rhodopsin) and includes representatives of each of the known Southern Ocean species. Thaumeledone rotunda, believed to be circumpolar in distribution and found in relatively deep water is the sister taxa to T. gunteri, known only from South Georgia. A notable level of sequence variability was evident between a T. peninsulae individual recently captured from the Powell Basin, and two T. peninsulae individuals captured from the continental slope, north of the South Shetland Islands. This is likely to represent population level intraspecific variation within this species.

(Received July 19 2007)

(Accepted September 12 2007)