Octopuses are considered the most intelligent of all invertebrates. Scientific studies are increasingly confirming that they are sentient creatures.
All about the Octopus
- The environment and lifestyle of cephalopods means that they need to be capable of complex and flexible behaviour.
- As active predators they need to explore, understand and remember their environment and the behaviour of other animals.
- Studies have shown that octopuses learn easily, including learning by observation of another octopus.
- They can solve problems, as when they remove a plug or unscrew a lid to get prey from a container.
- They are the first invertebrates to be seen using tools, such as using coconut shells to hide from potential predators and using rocks and jets of water in a way that could be classified as tool use.
- Common octopuses will collect crustacean shells and other objects to construct fortresses, or “gardens,” around their lairs. Other octopuses carry shells for protection.
- The common octopus has a wide array of techniques it uses to avoid or thwart attackers. Its first—and most amazing—line of defense is its ability to hide in plain sight. Using a network of pigment cells and specialized muscles in its skin, the common octopus can almost instantaneously match the colors, patterns, and even textures of its surroundings. Predators such as sharks, eels, and dolphins swim by without even noticing it.
- They have been found to play with a ‘toy’ and to have individual responses and individual temperaments, with some scientists believing they have individual personalities.
- All octopuses are venomous, but only the small blue-ringed octopuses are known to be deadly to humans.
- There are around 300 recognized octopus species, which is over one-third of the total number of known cephalopod species.
- Octopuses have four pairs of arms.
- Octopuses have three hearts. Two pump blood through each of the two gills, while the third pumps blood through the body.
- When discovered, an octopus will release a cloud of black ink to obscure its attacker’s view, giving it time to swim away. The ink even contains a substance that dulls a predator’s sense of smell, making the fleeing octopus harder to track.
- Fast swimmers, they can jet forward by expelling water through their mantles. And their soft bodies, with no internal or external skeleton, can squeeze into impossibly small cracks and crevices where predators can’t follow.
- The amazing mimic octopuses are capable of changing their body shape to mimic other animals
- They also have beak-like jaws that can deliver a nasty bite, and venomous saliva, used mainly for subduing prey.
- If all else fails, an octopus can lose an arm to escape a predator’s grasp and re-grow it later with no permanent damage.
- Type: Invertebrate (Cephalopod)
- Diet: Carnivore
- Average life span in the wild: 1 to 2 years
- Size: Maximum arm span of 9m
- Weight: Up to 270kg
- Habitat: Octopuses divide into two types, the deep-sea finned octopuses and their finless, shallower water cousins. They inhabit many diverse regions of the ocean, especially coral reefs.
- Range: Tropical and temperate waters of the world’s oceans
- Scientific name: Octopoda