Analysis of beak morphometry of the horned octopus Eledone cirrhosa (Cephalopoda: Octopoda) in the Thracian Sea (NE Mediterranean)
Cephalopod beaks are chitinous structures situated in the buccal mass lying at the base of their arms. Because they are among the few hard structures of cephalopods with high resistance to erosion during digestive process in predator stomachs, the study of the beak morphometry is of major importance for the species taxonomy, as well as, for the size estimation of the cephalopods consumed. In this study new information is provided on the dimensions and pigmentation process of the upper and lower beak of the horned octopus Eledone cirrhosa derived from 67 female and 47 male specimens caught by trawl in the Thracian Sea (NE Mediterranean). The growth of both beaks was allometric in relation to the mantle length and body weight. According to the results of covariance analysis, no difference was found in growth pattern of beaks between sexes. Four degrees of pigmentation were identified in both upper and lower beaks, the darkening process starting in females at a smaller size.