In celebration of World Octopus Day, we will take a journey into the deep blue sea and explore eight fascinating facts about the eccentric octopus. Here's a freebie; did you know that is one fact for each one of their tentacles?
Did you know that there are over 300 varieties of octopuses in the world? They are all different in appearance, size, and color. The largest Octopus is the Giant Pacific Octopus. This magnificent red creature can reach up to five feet in length and weigh up to one hundred and sixty pounds!
The smallest octopus in the ocean is called the Star Sucker pygmy octopus. These tiny little cephalopods only grow to about 2.5 cm in length. The Star Sucker pygmy octopus is small enough to sit on your fingertip!
Have you ever seen an octopus change colors? Color-changing cells under the surface of their skin called ‘chromatophores’ cause this fascinating phenomenon.
Chromatophores connect to nerves in the body. When the octopus wants to express a particular emotion or blend into its surroundings, the brain sends a signal to these special cells. The chromatophores contain sacs of colored pigment, allowing the octopus to change colors!
One unusual fact about the octopus is that they have three hearts, and their blood is blue! Yep, as strange as that is, you read it correctly.
Unlike humans, who have iron-based proteins in their blood, octopuses have copper-based proteins that cause their blood to be blue.
These copper-based proteins aren’t as good as ours at binding with oxygen, so they need two hearts specifically for pumping blood through the gills to collect oxygen, and another heart to pump the oxygenated blood through their bodies.
When avoiding predators or chasing prey, an octopus can fit through spaces as small as its beak. The only part of their body that can’t condense to fit a smaller area is their mouth (beak), which is made of chitin.
This means that even the largest of all octopuses can fit their entire bodies through holes around an inch in diameter.
The octopus is a carnivorous cephalopod that eats other sea creatures such as clams, fish, and even small sharks!
They use an ambush technique when hunting, dropping like an umbrella onto their prey from above and capturing them with their suction cup tentacles. They use their scissor-like beak to eat their prey.
Did you know that 2⁄3 of an octopus’s neurons reside in its tentacles? This means their arms can act independently from their brain, and carry out multiple actions their brain isn’t even thinking of.
The number of neurons they have contributes to how intelligent these creatures are. Scientists are unlocking new information every day about how the octopus’s brain and body function together.
We are all familiar with the famous line, “Aww, you guys made me ink!” from Finding Nemo, right? One way that most cephalopods defend themselves when threatened is by producing a dark cloud of ink to confuse their predators.
This ink is made of melanin and mucus. The ink causes irritation to their predator's eyes and can harm the octopus that produces it if they do not move out of its own ink cloud quickly enough.
When an octopus mom is waiting for her babies to hatch, she refrains from leaving them. She goes without food for the entire time and ensures no harm comes to them before they hatch and can fend for themselves. Shortly after they hatch, the mother octopus typically dies from starvation.
Some male octopuses lend a “hand” in the mating process. Males have a specialized arm that contains sperm called the hectocotylus, which they sometimes remove from their bodies and give to their mate to use for producing offspring.
Wow! Can we all agree that octopuses are amazing creatures?! We live in a world full of so many unique animals, and all of these features make the octopus one of the most interesting living beings on this planet. Today, we had the chance to dive into octopus knowledge, and discover another critical reason to protect our oceans!
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