Facts about Octopus1
Did YOU Know…
- An adult Octopus can squeeze through a hole the size of a dime.
- If the octopus loses an arm, no problem—a new one grows back in its place.
- An octopus’ blood is blue.
- Octopuses have wonderful eyesight and a complex sense of touch and taste. They are, however, deaf.
- The octopus is very intelligent. Scientific experiments have proven they can learn and possess both long-term and short-term memory. Octopuses can negotiate mazes, solve puzzles, distinguish between shapes and patterns and imitate observed behavior. They are notoriously clever at escaping containment and fishermen have found octopuses breaking into the crab holds of their boats to get a meal.
- Octopuses are mollusks, as are clams, oysters, and snails.
- The octopus performs its famous backward swim by blasting water through a muscular tube on the body called a siphon. Octopuses also crawl along the ocean’s floor, tucking their arms into small openings to search for food.
- Crabs, shrimps, and lobsters rank among their favorite foods, though some can attack larger prey, like sharks. Octopuses typically drop down on their prey from above and, using powerful suctions that line their arms, pull the animal into their mouth.
- Seals, whales, and large fish prey on octopuses. If threatened, octopuses shoot an inky fluid that darkens the water, confusing the aggressor.
- The octopus can also change to gray, brown, pink, blue, or green to blend in with its surroundings. Octopuses may also change color as a way to communicate with other octopuses.
- A female octopus lays thousands of transparent eggs under rocks or in holes. She guards the eggs for four to eight weeks. The female lives long enough to lay her eggs and protect them through hatching. She does not eat during this time. She spends her days guarding the 40,000 or so eggs (depending on species), gently blowing water currents over them so the developing fetuses get enough oxygen. The female will live long enough to see her young hatch, but as they rise to the upper waters of the sea to start their lives, she will die.
- There are over 200 species of octopuses and they inhabit all of the world’s oceans. They live in all the world’s oceans but are especially abundant in warm, tropical waters. They prefer shallower waters, especially rocky coasts or coral reefs.
- Octopuses have no internal bone structure or external shell and so can fit into extremely small cracks and crevices. The only hard part of their bodies is a parrot-like beak located at the bottom of their head, between their eight arms.
- The correct plural of Octopus is octopuses. Octopods is a more scientific term. Octopi is frowned upon.
- The largest octopus is the North Pacific giant octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini). It weighs up to 150 pounds (68 kilograms) and measures some 20 feet (6 meters) across from the tip of one arm to the tip of an opposite.
- The largest octopus ever found was 300 lbs with an arm span of 33 feet.
- The name octopus is derived from a Greek language and it means eight-footed.