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How To Name An Octopus

baby octopus

Interesting Facts in Easy English

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

  • binomial nomenclature: a two-part system for naming species (e.g., Panthera tigris)
  • genus: a subdivision of a family of organisms (e.g., Panthera is the genus for tigers, lions and leopards, and a subdivision of the Felidae family, which includes all cats)
  • gelatinous: slimy and jellylike
  • fragile: easily breakable, delicate
  • incubation period: the development stage after eggs are laid and before they hatch
  • octopuses: the accepted plural form of octopus (sometimes referred to as octopi or octopodes)

How To Name An Octopus

A research facility in Monterey, California is a small, coral-coloured octopus species that currently only has half of a name. A new species gets a formal two-part Latin name using a system called binomial nomenclature. The first part of the name is capitalized and refers to the genus of the species. The second part is written in lowercase and the specific species from other similar ones. This particular octopus belongs to the genus Opisthoteuthis. The scientist in charge of giving it a second name has described it as gelatinous and fragile. She is waiting for its eggs to hatch so that she can observe young. Deep sea animals like this one can have an incubation period of two to three years. Will the scientist have a name for these cute octopuses when the larvae finally ? Her first choice right now is Opisthoteuthis adorablis.

Comprehension Questions

  1. Why is the first part of this octopus’s name already known?
  2. Which words are used to describe this unnamed octopus?
  3. What does the scientist want to name this species?

Discussion Questions: If you could discover a new species, what genus would you want it to be from, and why?

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