Profile updated on 20 December 2022
Mexican four-eyed octopus, Octopus maya, Pulpo Rojo
Mexican four-eyed octopus is distributed from the US/Mexican border of the Western Gulf of Mexico along the south coast of the Gulf of Mexico and down to the bottom of Belize (Palomares and Pauly 2019). (Juárez et al. 2010) found some genetic heterogeneity and a posterior and more complex analysis supported the existence of a single unit (Juárez 2011). Nevertheless, more recently, (Juárez et al. 2018) ascertained the existence of two sub-populations already suspected due to distinct population parameters and fishing behavior, in the eastern and western zones of the Yucatan Peninsula. But the whole distribution of the species was not considered in this last study, therefore this profile continues to consider a single assessment unit around the Yucatan Peninsula, including Campeche, Yucatán, Quintana Roo, and Vera Cruz, and the management unit of the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea, according to the National Fisheries Chart (DOF 2018).
Mexican four-eyed octopus and Octopus americanus occupy similar habitats and are of similar size, causing the species to be difficult to discriminate by eye, which can lead to misidentification. Both species are prosecuted by the same multispecies fishery using baited lines on poles (on average, a proportion of 75% of this species and 25% of O. americanus) (DOF 2018). Nevertheless, relative abundances vary depending on depth and season and fishermen claim they can discriminate the species (Avendaño et al. 2022)(Avendaño et al. 2022).