The biodiversity of the marine world is far more vivid and rich compared to that found on land. Octopus is one of the many life forms that make the marine world so interesting. We did cover two types of octopuses so far but it is high time that we learn some of the most interesting general facts about this fascinating animal. So, let us learn 35 interesting octopus facts and take a closer look at their lifestyle, their abilities and their interesting habits and more importantly, their uncanny ability to adapt.
Octopus Facts: 1-20
1. The word ‘Octopus’ has three plural forms and all of them are valid and correct. They include: octopodes, octopuses and octopi.
2. Octopi belong to a family of animals known as cephalopods. Cephalopods are a type of mollusk that include octopi, nautilus, cuttlefish and squids.
3. Octopi do not have tentacles. They have arms. Many people incorrectly call their arms as tentacles. The difference between tentacles and arms is that tentacles have suckers only at the tips and tentacles are way longer than arms.
4. Octopuses do not really live for long. Their maximum lifespan is 5 years and their minimum lifespan is 6 months.
5. Octopodes are invertebrates. In simpler words, they do not have any bone in their body. Having said that, it is important to mention that they do have a parrot-like beak that they use to crack the shell of their prey.
6. Octopuses have suckers on their arms. These suckers have sensory receptors which they use to sense taste.
7. Octopi have excellent eyesight.
9. Octopuses have blue blood.
10. Octopuses have the ability to regrow their arms just in case they happen to lose one!
12. Small octopuses are often kept as pets but they have the tendency to escape because of their unusual problem solving ability.
13. It is not that the small octopuses are the only octopi that are intelligent. As a matter of fact, all octopodes are extremely intelligent. In fact, they are the most intelligent invertebrates that live on this planet.
14. Octopuses are camouflage artists. They can change colors easily within a blink of an eye. They are very good at camouflage and if we place a chameleon and an octopus side by side, we will definitely find the chameleon to be extremely boring!
15. Octopi are deaf. They cannot hear anything and that’s why they rely on their sight.
16. Octopi are very active predators. This simply means that not only do they need to explore their environment but, they also need to understand and remember their environment. In addition, they also remember the behavior of other animals.
17. Octopodes are quick learners. They learn quickly from their environment and the challenges they face on the day to day basis. They also learn by observing other octopuses.
18. They have excellent problem solving abilities. They have been found to unscrew lid or remove plug in order to get hold of their prey.
19. They are the only invertebrates that are capable of using tools. Tools here don’t really mean the conventional metal tools humans use but refer to objects like rocks, water jets and coconut shells.
20. Octopi have been found to collect crustacean shells. They will either carry these shells to protect themselves or will simply use them to either build a fortress or a garden around their lairs.
Octopus Facts: 21-35
21. Scientists opine that octopi have individual personalities. Some have been found to play with toys and display different temperaments.
22. Octopuses use jet propulsion to swim. They expel water from their mantle to move forward. They are extremely fast swimmers and can achieve a top speed of 25 mph. They however cannot maintain this speed for a long time as it requires enormous amounts of energy.
23. Because they do not have internal or external bones, they are capable of squeezing in through impossibly small crevices and cracks.
24. All 300 known octopi species are venomous but the toxicity of the venom on humans differ. Only the venom of the blue-ringed octopus can kill humans.
25. One of the commonest defensive techniques used by octopuses against predators is the squirting of a black ink. They release a cloud of this ink and confuse their predators. The ink also subdues the senses of the predators, making it difficult for them to track and pursue the fleeing octopi.
26. Octopodes have special cells known as chromatophores. These cells help octopi to change their skin shape and mimic the appearance of the surrounding, allowing them to blend into the environment. This allows them to become virtually invisible to unsuspecting prey or to the predators.
27. The head of the octopus is known as mantle. It is the mantle that contains all the vital organs of the animal.
28. The color and size of the octopi are usually dependent on the environment. Cold water dwelling octopi are usually larger than warm or tropical water dwelling octopi.
29. Octopuses do not live to see their new generations. Shortly after the mating season, the males die within a few weeks and the females live for next three months until the eggs hatch. During these three months, the females do not eat and eventually die of starvation.
30. After hatching, the newborn octopi float with and feed on plankton for 45 to 60 days and then they swim back to the ocean bed.
31. Octopi have very well-developed nervous system which make they so intelligent.
32. The maximum numbers of suction cups that can be found on each arm of the octopi are 240.
33. They often change colors to reflect their mood or as a mechanism for thwarting away predators. They may turn white if they are afraid. They will turn red if they are angry. They will darken areas around their web, arms, suckers and eyes dark to get a more threatening appearance to scare away the predators.
34. Soon after mating season, the females lay anywhere between 100,000 and 500,000 eggs of which only one or two hatchlings make it to their adulthood.
35. Octopuses are very solitary animals. They get together only during the mating seasons.