There is no shortage of interesting facts about octopus. First of all, octopuses is the plural of the singular version.
When it comes to animals that live in the oceans, octopuses are a fascinating master of disguise. Hence, they rank among the most mesmerizing of all cephalopod sea creatures.
You can find them in all oceans around the world. In fact, marine biologists have identified around 300 different Octopodidae species.
Octopus vulgaris is the most common. It exists and thrives best around tropical and subtropical shallow coral reef formations. Their size ranges from 2cm and up to three (3) metres in length.
Octopuses are boneless, soft-bodied, invertebrate mollusks. But, they lose their typical rotund shape if they get taken out of water.
In general, octopuses do not have an internal or external skeleton. This means that the creature is able to squeeze into tight places around the reef. They do so in search of food and whenever there is a perceived threat from a predator.
Octopuses – Six Arms and Two Legs
The Greek name ‘octopus’ means eight-footed. But, in fact they have eight (8) limbs – six arms and two legs. Most of the genus have two rows of circular sucker pads covering these arms (or tentacles).
The animal uses them for sensing taste. Some octopuses actually have a sharp beak found on their bulbous head (also called a mantle).
Interesting Facts about Octopus
- Their size and colour relates to their natural habitat. They often use their elaborate camouflage to blend in with their living environment.
- Octopuses which live in temperate or cold water tend to be much larger than their warm water counterparts.
- The average lifespan for the genus ranges from six (6) months to fifteen (15) years.
- Octopodidae have three hearts. Two hearts pump blood through the gills and the other pumps blue blood around the body.
- They hunt for smaller mollusks, crabs, and crayfish for food.
- Scientific studies show that octopus can distinguish shapes, patterns, and even solve some basic puzzles
- They can change shape and skin colouring to evade its captors. Often, they eject a dark ink to confuse its predators.
- The most toxic species known to man (and scuba diving enthusiasts) is the blue ringed octopus.
- Male octopuses die within a few months of mating but the female will survive until the eggs hatch.
- Female octopuses lay around 150,000 eggs. The tiny eggs float in plankton streams after hatching and then later swim to the bottom of the sea.
The photos of octopus show them swimming near the seabed.
Note: The section on ocean life has more information about the animals that live in water. Check out other marine life found in the shallow waters around coral island formations.