Dubbed the frilled giant Pacific octopus, it has yet to be given its own scientific name but DNA evidence has now confirmed that it is a species distinct from the familiar Enteroctopus dofleini.

Researchers Nathan Hollenbeck and David Scheel from Alaska Pacific University followed up a lead from 2012 by retrieving octopuses from shrimp traps in Prince William Sound, where giant Pacific octopuses often search for prey

Of the 21 octopuses, a third proved to be different, distinguished by a bumpy frill running the length of the body and one over each eye, plus two (instead of one) white spots on the head.

Some also had a variety of frill configurations beneath or above the eyes.

In the course of their work the researchers successfully trialled a new less-invasive DNA sampling technique, which involved swabbing the octopuses' skin instead of taking a sample from the tentacles. 

The scientists now want to determine the size of the respective populations of octopus.

Their discovery is published in BioOne.

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