The octopus is considered the brightest invertebrate animal, with the greatest brain-to-body-mass ratio of any invertebrates — even greater than certain vertebrates. These cephalopods are clever enough to engage in deception, such as impersonating “moving pebbles” to elude predators. There are about 300 different species of octopus, most of which may be found in tropical and temperate oceans across the world. Octopuses have been around for millennia; Pohlsepia, the first known octopus fossil, is thought to have lived more than 296 million years ago.
Octopus Scientific Classification
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Mollusca
- Class: Cephalopoda
- Order: Octopoda
- Family: Octopodidae
- Scientific Name: Octopus Vulgaris
- Conservation Status: Least Concern
- Locations: Ocean
- Main Prey: Crabs, Fish, Scallops
- Habitat: Tropical and temperate waters worldwide
- Predators: Eels, Sharks, Dolphins
- Diet: Omnivore
- Average Litter Size: 80
- Lifestyle: Solitary
- Favorite Food: Crabs
- Type: Mollusca
- Slogan: There are around 300 different species!
Octopus Physical Characteristics
- Colour: Brown, Red, Blue, Tan, Orange, Purple
- Skin Type: Smooth
- Top Speed: 27 mph
- Lifespan: 2-15 years
- Weight: 5-75kg (11-165lbs)
5 Amazing Octopus Facts
- Some octopus species do what is known as the “shifting rock” trick. An octopus may move slowly over wide space in order to imitate the look of a rock. They do so at the same pace as the water around them, giving the impression that they aren’t moving at all. This helps them to move around while remaining hidden from predators.
- Experiments using mazes and problem-solving tasks have shown that octopuses have both short- and long-term memory. Even after traversing long distances, they are able to find their way back to their dens with ease.
- The dumbo octopus is the deepest existing genus of octopus. It dwells 13,100 feet below the water’s surface, despite its little size.
- Octopuses are animals that can alter the color of their skin considerably and fast because of their highly developed pigment-bearing cells. This type of camouflage is a frequent defense strategy employed by octopuses to avoid predators.
- The plural version of the word octopus is octopuses, not octopi, contrary to common perception. However, the term octopus is commonly used to refer to a group of octopuses.
Octopus Scientific Name
The mollusk order includes octopuses. They are classified as cephalopods and belong to the Octopoda order. In 1818, English scientist William Elford Leach created the name Octopoda.
Octopus vulgaris is the scientific name for the common octopus. This Latin phrase is derived from two Ancient Greek words: okto (meaning “eight”) and pous (meaning “foot”). As a result, the name “octopus” means “eight feet,” referring to the creatures’ eight “feet,” which are more usually referred to as arms.
Octopus Species: The Types of Octopus
The order Octopoda comprises around 300 species and is divided into 13 families. Octopuses come in a wide range of sizes and shapes, with some dwelling in the deep water, others reaching 30 feet, and yet others barely reaching an inch!
The following are some of the most intriguing octopus species.
Giant Pacific Octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini)
The gigantic Pacific octopus is the largest octopus on the planet! The world’s largest specimen reportedly weighed 600 pounds and had a 30-foot arm reach! The species may be found all around the Pacific’s “ring of fire,” from the Gulf of California to Alaska, and all the way down to Japan and China’s coast.
Flapjack Octopus (Opisthoteuthis californiana)
Flapjack octopuses are umbrella octopuses, which means their tentacles are connected by a web of skin. The flapjack octopus derives its name from the way its webbing links outward to the ends of its tentacles, giving it a ‘flapjack’ look at the bottom of its body. Flapjack octopuses may leave up to a mile below the surface of the ocean, and nothing is known about their habits. Flapjack octopuses gained popularity because the character Pearl in Finding Nemo was based on the species.
Atlantic Pygmy Octopus (Octopus joubini)
The limbs of the Atlantic pygmy octopus are slightly under 4 inches long, making it one of the smallest octopus species. They’re particularly common in the Gulf of Mexico, and they’re recognized for their ability to change colors quickly to blend in with their environment.
The blue-ringed octopus is a genus rather than a species. The species is distinguished by its brilliant blue rings that run the length of its body. Furthermore, blue-ringed octopus species are very poisonous, and the neurotoxin tetrodotoxin is found in their bite. This toxin, which causes transient paralysis, has no known antidote. The paralysis caused by a blue-ringed octopus bite lasts around 15 hours and may need intubation for survival. Blue-ringed octopuses, on the other hand, are not violent, and just three documented fatalities have been related to the species, according to 2008 research.
Octopus Appearance and Behavior
Any eight-armed cephalopod mollusk of the order Octopoda is referred to as an octopus. True octopuses are members of the genus Octopus, a large family of shallow-water cephalopods that includes squids and cuttlefish.
The body of a normal octopus is saccular, which indicates that the head is only slightly separated from the rest of the body. They have eight contractile arms with two rows of fleshy suckers on each. A web of tissue known as a skirt connects their limbs at their bases; their mouth is located in the center of the skirt and features a pair of sharp beaks and a file-like structure known as a radula.
Octopuses breathe by pulling water into their mantles through a hole in their shell. The water subsequently travels through the gills and is ejected via the siphon. The thin skin of octopuses absorbs some oxygen from the water.
These animals can move in a number of different ways. They crawl using their front two arms while foraging with the other six. Their arms trail behind them as they swim by pushing water through their siphons. They may also swiftly travel backward by ejecting water jets from their siphons.
Octopuses are also recognized for their ability to discharge ink. They use this to hide from predators; the black cloud of ink obscures them, allowing them to flee rapidly. The ink of certain species includes poison that paralyzes the attacker’s sense organs. Humans are poisoned by only one octopus species, the blue-ringed octopus. They inject paralyzing saliva onto their victim in this scenario.
The majority of octopuses are solitary and spend about 40% of their time in dens. Some, on the other hand, are sociable and may dwell in groups of up to 40 people. They are not territorial, but they do have a home range that they stick to. Because they are not migratory, they spend their entire lives in the same region.
Octopuses have a fantastic sense of touch. They can taste everything they touch thanks to chemoreceptors on their suction cups. Their skin also contains pigment-bearing cells known as chromatophores, which allow them to swiftly alter the hue, opacity, and even reflectivity of their skin.
Finally, of all invertebrates, octopuses are the most intellectual. In 2009, the veined octopus Amphioctopus marginatus was discovered on the ocean floor digging coconut half-shells and utilizing them as part of its home. This is the first time an invertebrate has been documented using tools, demonstrating how clever these organisms are.
O. vulgaris, the common octopus, is found in tropical and temperate oceans all around the world. These animals like to reside in dens located in holes or crevices along the rocky seafloor, which fits with their retiring and secretive personality. Octopuses may be found in a variety of environments, including coral reefs, seabeds, and pelagic seas. Some, on the other hand, are found in intertidal zones and others in abyssal depths. For example, the dumbo octopus lives an average of 13,100 feet below the surface.
Octopuses are carnivores since they eat nothing but other animals. Crabs and other crustaceans are their main sources of food. Lobsters are also popular, and certain octopus species have been found to eat plankton. Crustaceans, Polychaeta worms, clams, and other mollusks are the main sources of food for predatory, bottom-dwelling octopus species. Other cephalopods, prawns, and fish are the main foods of open-ocean octopus species. They carry prey back to their caves after feasting and use their radula to drill shells and scrape the flesh away. They rip their prey apart with their razor-sharp beaks.
Octopus Predators and Threats
Most octopus species are not endangered, according to the IUCN. Recent research has shown that population growth may be on the rise. These animals, on the other hand, are vulnerable to a variety of dangers. Many civilizations regard them as delicacies, and people hunt them on a regular basis. As a result, humans are among the top predators of the octopus.
Octopuses are preyed upon by a variety of animals in the wild. Octopuses are reported to be eaten by a number of marine species. Seabirds, various cephalopods, and sea otters are all common predators.
Octopus Reproduction, Babies and Lifespan
Octopuses are divided into sexes. A hectocotylus is a specialized arm seen on male octopuses. This appendage transfers spermatophores, or packets of sperm, straight into the mantle cavity of female octopuses. During reproduction, the male usually clings to the female’s top or side, or hovers near her. Males become senescent after releasing spermatophores, which means they gradually degrade before dying. Most people die within two months.
Female octopuses lay eggs in holes and beneath rocks that are about 1/8th of an inch long. Females lay approximately 100,000 eggs at a time on average, and the eggs take four to eight weeks to hatch. The female octopus guards the eggs and cleans them with her suckers throughout this time. She also uses water to agitate them. Miniature copies of the parents — tiny octopods – emerge once they hatch. They float on plankton for several weeks before seeking safety at the sea’s bottom. Baby octopuses are left to their own devices, aside from the care provided by the female while waiting for the eggs to hatch.
During the winter, most octopus species, including the common octopus, mate. They are usually alone unless they are mating. Octopuses have relatively short lives, with some species only lasting for six months on average. The huge Pacific octopus, on the other hand, has been reported to survive for up to five years. Males only live for a few months after mating, while females die shortly after the eggs hatch, limiting the lifetime of these animals.
Unfortunately, scientists have no accurate estimate of the number of octopuses on the planet. They’re difficult to monitor not simply because they can’t be tagged, but also because they live in such a solitary and isolated environment. However, since the 1950s, it is thought that the number of cephalopods, especially octopuses, has increased dramatically. There are other pieces of evidence that back this idea, but no precise figures are available.
Why is the number of cephalopods — and, by implication, octopuses – increasing? A number of elements, according to researchers, are at play. For starters, these species are well-known for their ability to adapt to shifting surroundings. They may be better equipped to cope than other animals when climate change happens and, for example, water temperatures rise. Human activity is thought to play an influence in population growth as well. Human fishing, in particular, eliminates a huge number of octopuses’ natural predators from the water. This generates a feeding gap that might be beneficial to these eight-armed animals.
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