Mercury, methyl-mercury (MeHg) and selenium were determined in digestive gland and mantle of Octopus vulgaris, from three areas of the Portuguese coast. To our knowledge these are the first data on MeHg in cephalopods. Concentrations were higher in the digestive gland and percentage of MeHg in mantle. Enhanced Hg and MeHg levels were obtained in digestive gland of specimens from Olhao (3.1-7.4 and 2.0-5.0 mu g g(-1) respectively). Differences between areas may be partially related to Hg availability. Relationships between concentrations in mantle and digestive gland pointed to proportional increases of Hg and MeHg in tissues of specimens from Matosinhos and Cascais, but relatively constant values in mantle of individuals from Olhao (higher contamination). Se:Hg molar ratio in digestive gland was 32 and 30 in octopus from Matosinhos and Cascais, respectively, and 5.4 from Olhao. The proximity to the unit suggests demethylation as response to elevated MeHg levels in digestive gland. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.