North Atlantic octopus (Bathypolypus arcticus)

Distribution data supplied by the Ocean Biodiversity Information System (OBIS). To interrogate UK data visit the NBN Atlas.Map Help



Bathypolypus arcticus is a squat, short-armed octopus between 6-10 cm in length, that lacks an ink sac.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

All British and Irish coasts.

Global distribution

North Atlantic Ocean: Straits of Florida northward to Greenland, Iceland, Spitzbergen and southward to Great Britain and North Sea.


Most frequently found on sandy and muddy bottoms but they must move to rocky areas to spawn.

Depth range


Identifying features

  • Mantle globular, nearly as wide as long.
  • Surface of mantle, head, arms and web covered in warts, especially around the eyes.
  • Arms short, irregular order.
  • Suckers small and biserial.

Additional information

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Listed by

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  1. Boyle, P.R. (ed.), 1983. Cephalopod Life Cycles, vol 1. Species Accounts. London: Academic Press Inc. (London) Ltd.

  2. Howson, C.M. & Picton, B.E., 1997. The species directory of the marine fauna and flora of the British Isles and surrounding seas. Belfast: Ulster Museum. [Ulster Museum publication, no. 276.]

  3. Miramand, P. & Bentley, D., 1992. Concentration and distribution of heavy metals in tissues of two cephalopods, Eledone cirrhosa and Sepia officinalis, from the French coast of the English Channel. Marine Biology, 114, 407-414.

  4. Roper, C.F.E., Sweeney, M.J. & Nauen, C.E., 1984. FAO species catalogue. Vol. 3. Cephalopods of the world. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of species of interest to fisheries. FAO Fisheries Synopsis, 125, 3, 277. Avaliable:


  1. NBN (National Biodiversity Network) Atlas. Available from:

  2. OBIS (Ocean Biodiversity Information System),  2024. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. Accessed: 2024-07-14


This review can be cited as:

Wilson, E. 2006. Bathypolypus arcticus North Atlantic octopus. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 14-07-2024]. Available from:

Last Updated: 06/11/2006