The tentacles of this creature create images of monstrosity and fear. You are probably familiar with the octopus, but there may be facts that you may not know. This creature is one of the most intelligent animals known to man, and a million other surprises besides.
Octopus Facts You May Already Know
The octopus is familiar to all of us, and there are undoubtedly many things that we already know about it.
Before we introduce you to a few lesser-known octopus facts, we’d like to revise some of these details with you:
1. Physical Characteristics
Apart from size differences, all octopuses have similar anatomy and structure. Octopuses vary in size but have the same anatomical form. Each octopus infamously has eight legs (tentacles), covered by suckers on their undersides.
These creatures comprise 90% muscle and are invertebrates – they have no spine. Their unique structure gives them unparalleled flexibility.
You will know an octopus by its habitat. The roughly 300 species of octopuses live in seawater. There is no freshwater octopus. You will find these resilient creatures in both temperate and coastal glasses of water.
Adept nest builders, they often make their home in crevices where they can hide from predators.
The octopus has a hard beak which allows it to kill its prey. It is tenacious enough to go through crab shells. They are carnivores that feast on a range of seafood like fish, crabs, and scallops. Octopuses prey on smaller octopuses and are nocturnal hunters.
These creatures live just for six months. Larger octopus species live longer but still for a relatively short time. For example, giant octopuses that live in the Pacific Ocean live for about five years.
The way of the wild is brutal, and octopuses have a range of predators that include dolphins, seals, and sharks. It makes well-formed security necessary.
The octopus has specially-adapted skin pigments that change colors quickly, allowing almost instant camouflage. They can also squirt dark ink to confuse predators and escape.
9 Octopus Facts That Show How Incredible These Creatures Are!
Octopuses are such fascinating creatures that researchers have conducted studies on whether they have alien DNA. One theory suggests that a meteor shower was responsible for transporting octopus DNA to Earth.
The possibility sounds far-fetched, but the octopus is still a fascinating creature.
Here are some mind-blowing facts about it:
1. Octopuses are extremely smart.
Octopuses have a reputation for uncanny intelligence. They’re capable of exhibiting human-like behaviors like opening jars and manipulating tools created by humans. These creatures unscrew jars to get to their prey.
2. Some octopuses hide in coconut shells
There is a species of octopus known as the coconut octopus, and it’s clear why. Biologists discovered it in 1964, and it stood out to them because of its odd behavior. It gathers coconut shells and hauls them around, holding them to their bodies as they trot across sea beds. Unlike other species of octopuses, it has bipedal locomotion.
3. Octopuses have devious hunting strategies
Octopuses are so intelligent that they can memorize the environment and behaviors of other animals. And they milk this ability for what it’s worth. The Pacific Octopus tricks a gullible victim into running towards it. When it sees a shrimp, it presses itself together and extends an arm over it. It then frightens it so that it moves into its other arm.
Other octopuses trap guileless prey in tidepools. They have ingenious ways of getting away from their predators too, achieving this by hiding in plain sight.
4. A cool octopus fact is that it can shape-shift
The octopus is a consummate shapeshifter which can fit under rocks. Fifteen species of mimic octopuses can contort into the shapes of animals that prey typically avoid, like shellfish or jellyfish. The forms they take on depend on the predators that exist in the area – they usually conform to the shapes of the predators that inhabit it.
5. Octopuses have surprising social lives
Octopuses typically live by themselves. Panamanian biologist Aradio Rodancio found the Pacific Striped Octopus living in groups of 40, laying clutches of eggs, but faced ridicule. It was only when the California Academy of Sciences discovered them that people began to accept that the octopus could be a social animal.
It’s also their mating practices that are a surprise. Females will consume the male after mating, so the male keeps his distance from her with an exceptionally long arm.
6. Octopuses have queer brooding habits.
Many female octopuses typically look after their eggs for a while, then die. One species, the Graneledone boreopacifica, discovered by Bruce Robison, broods for a stunning four and a half years!
7. Octopuses Have 9 Brains and Their Arms Are Part of Their Nervous System
One of the facts that will leave your mouth hanging open is that the octopus has nine brains! A central nervous system manages each of its eight arms, which control movement.
Note that their nervous systems evolved differently from vertebrates. While vertebrates have a centralized nervous system, an octopus has neurons spread throughout its body. Therefore, it can react faster to stimuli. Though there is more to learn about this subject, researchers suggest that it affects the predator-prey relationship and hunting.
Octopuses have neuron clusters known as ganglia, found throughout their bodies. One enables the creature’s brain to function, while the others allow its arms to move. Its ganglia communicate with one another with the help of a neural ring. They allow their arms to coordinate and move independently from the brain.
The University of Washington tracked the octopus with the help of a computer program. It determined which actions the brain coordinates, and which, the arms. The researchers figured out that it is a matter of synchrony – the brain is likely to be controlling the action if the arms move together. One that is rogue is probably working by itself.
There is still much to learn about the octopus’s nervous system. Researchers wish to find out how the octopuses‘ nervous system helps them perform complex actions, such as moving across an ocean floor. The connection between these nodes also fascinates them.
8. Octopuses contort themselves
Octopuses contort their bodies so that they can squeeze into tight spaces, an ability that helps them to protect themselves. They love places that would make us feel uncomfortable. The only things that limit them are their beaks.
Indeed, octopuses’ ability to contort themselves is incredible. They can fit into beer bottles and escape from places that are much smaller than themselves. Remember that an octopus can do this before you consider taking care of it – it may become Harry Houdini and get out of its tank.
9. The octopus has three hearts
The octopus needs lots of oxygen to fuel its muscles and tentacles, so it has three hearts to do the work. Two pump blood to its gills while the third circulates oxygen to the rest of its body.
In all, as you have seen from the above facts, the octopus never fails to mesmerize. Consider how unique it is before having it for dinner…
To learn more about octopuses, watch the short documentary below: