Octopus: Devoted Mother of the Ocean

Octopus is one of the most anticipated marine animal. There are numerous ancient stories and myths about it.

It is the ‘star‘ of cephalopods.

I am sure you will find facts that you have never heard about octopuses in this article.

Let’s meet with octopuses.

General Information

There are 300 known species.

An octopus has 8 arms. These arms are bilaterally symmetric. There are ‘suction cups’ on these legs. You can tell an octopus from a squid that squids only have ‘feeding tentacles.’

It has two eyes and they are sharp.

Octopus neither has an internal skeleton nor an external protection like a shell.

There is a hard ‘beak‘ at the center of the octopus’ arms. This beak is made of chitin. This is the only hard part of the octopus, which creates an ability to run a way from moray eels and such predators by using rocky tiny tunnels.

Octopus has a relatively short life. Some species live only six months. The biggest species, Giant Pacific Octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini) lives up to five years.

Watch this Giant Pacific Octopus video to have a general idea about the octopuses


 
But once the octopus reproduce, it dies.

Male octopus dies in a few months after he mates. Females die right after the eggs hatch. They ignore to hunt because hunting uses energy. Instead, they use this energy for caring their eggs and prefer not to leave them even for a second.

At the end, right after the eggs hatch, female octopuses starve. 

Reproduction

To be able to mate, male octopuses use one of their arms called ‘hectocotylus.’ By using this ‘special arm‘ males transfer sperm to the females.

After this ‘transfer‘ males die within a couple of months. 

In several species, female octopuses are able to keep sperm waiting for their eggs mature.

It is known that a female octopus lays about 200 000 eggs. However, this changes between species.

Way of Thinking

Octopuses are very intelligence.

Researches show that octopuses have both short-term and long-term intelligence. In addition, they can solve problems.

Octopuses ‘learn‘ by themselves. Because their parents die after their birth, young octopus has very little contact with them.

They have a complex nervous system.

It is known that octopuses can escape from their tanks and ‘climb‘ to the fishing boats to find food.

They can open a bottle cover if there is a pray inside. 

Watch an octopus opening a jar in the video below.


 
Some scientists believe that octopuses ‘play.’

It is observed that they hold a bottle and release it repeatedly.

Octopuses even use tools. Once they have taken couple of coconut shells and manipulated to use as a shelter.

Defense

Octopuses prefer to ‘hide‘ not get hunted.

They are camouflage masters. By this way, predators don’t recognize octopuses. Some species have two, some have four colors. These colors are obtained by some special skin cells. These colors can be (varies depending on the species) yellow, red, orange, brown or black.

Octopuses not only change color, but opacity and the reflection amount of the light.

Watch the video below to see how octopuses are mastered in camouflage.


 
Octopuses can swim really fast. It gathers all legs together and pulls itself like a jet in the water.

Last but not least, they use ‘ink.’

This ink is ‘melanin.’ Melanin is squirted to the water to confuse the predator. It is like a small bag lays beneath the gut.

Another defense style is autotomy. It is just like the lizards leaving their tails. Octopuses may leave one of their arms. This single arm distracts the predator and gives the octopus a chance to run away. Thanks to the regeneration, ‘a new arm‘ will replace the amputated one.

Diet

Octopuses eat crabs and molluscs. Some species in oceans also eats fish and other cephalopods.

They inject some kind of a poison (saliva) into the shell of their pray and then crush it with their beak. 

Some bigger species like the Giant Pacific Octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini) even hunt sharks to eat.

Facts

  • Octopus has three hearts
  • Studies show that octopus can learn from other octopus
  • It can remove a plug or unscrew lid to reach its pray
  • Octopus can use tools such as manipulating coconuts for shelter
  • They collect shells and small rocks and place them in front of their nest for protection
  • All species of octopus are venomous. However, only the Blue-Ringed Octopus (Hapalochlaena lunulata) can kill human-beings
  • There are around 300 species
  • Beyond great camouflage, an octopus can mimic other animals
  • Their beaks are hard and use it to invade its prays
  • Octopus ‘plays‘ with toys

Predators?

Octopuses have natural predators like the eels and the sharks.

However, most damage is given to them by human-beings.

Because of its good taste, octopuses are majorly killed by us.

References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Octopus

http://www.onekind.org/be_inspired/animals_a_z/octopus/

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