Octopuses, with their eight mysterious arms and enigmatic behavior, are truly one of the ocean’s greatest enigmas. From their ability to camouflage and squeeze through tight spaces, to their three hearts and regenerative powers, these underwater dwellers are a treasure trove of strange and fascinating facts. So come, dive into the depths of the ocean and discover the peculiarities of these amazing creatures, you’ll be surprised what you’ll find.
You might be thinking… isn’t the plural of Octopus… Octopi? Well, that’s both true and untrue, as Octopuses is the preferred way to say it, but both are valid.
They’ve Been Around for Millions of Years
Octopuses have been around for a very long time, with fossil evidence indicating that they first appeared on Earth during the Late Jurassic period, around 164 million years ago. They are members of the phylum Mollusca, which also includes clams, snails, and squids, and have evolved over millions of years to become the highly advanced and intelligent creatures that we know today.
The octopus is a relatively recent development in terms of the cephalopod family, which includes the nautilus, ammonites, and belemnites. These cephalopods have been around for over 500 million years, and have gone through significant evolution over this time. While the nautilus and the ammonites are extinct, the octopus and its relatives are still found in the oceans today.
They Have Three Hearts and Nine Brains
Octopuses have three hearts: one main heart that pumps blood to the body, and two smaller hearts that pump blood to the gills. The main heart is responsible for pumping blood through the body, while the two smaller hearts pump blood through the gills, which extract oxygen from the water. The three hearts work together to ensure that the octopus’s body is supplied with oxygen-rich blood.
The heart of an octopus is also unique in that it is able to change the direction of blood flow depending on the activity level of the animal. When the octopus is active, more blood is directed to the muscles and less to the gills, while when the octopus is resting, more blood is directed to the gills to increase oxygen uptake.
It’s also worth noting that the octopus’s blood contains hemocyanin, a copper-based protein that gives the blood a blue color and carries oxygen through the body, unlike the iron-based hemoglobin that gives red color to human blood.
Each Limb Can Do Something Different
It makes sense that since each limb has a “mind of it’s own” that an octopus would be able to accomplish multiple tasks at once. Each arm can reach out separately in search of food. Once an arm snags something, it can determine what it has and send a message back to the main brain letting it know that it’s time to eat.
And They Can Taste With Those Limbs
Octopuses have the ability to taste with their tentacles, which are lined with thousands of sensitive chemical receptors. These receptors are located on the tips of the tentacles and on the suction cups, and allow the octopus to detect a wide range of chemicals in the water, including those from food and potential predators or mates.
When an octopus encounters a potential food item, it will typically extend its tentacles and touch the item with the tips. The octopus will then bring the tentacle tips to its beak, which is located at the base of the tentacles, and taste the chemicals to determine if the item is edible.
Octopus also use their limbs to taste their environment, they can detect chemicals around them, this ability is useful to detect potential predators, mates or locate food. They are also known to use their tentacles to explore their surroundings, this way, they also taste their environment.
Tasting with their tentacles is also a way for octopuses to identify potential mates. Octopuses will use their tentacles to touch and taste other octopuses in order to determine if they are of the same species and if they are ready to mate.
They’re Extremely Intelligent
One might easily believe that an animal with four brains would be pretty smart. While octopuses may not be able to retain memories for long, they can solve puzzles and mazes, and remember the solutions for a short amount of time. Combining their capable limbs and intelligence, it’s no surprise that an octopus can use it’s limbs to open jars and use tools to help them get to food.
Octopus Ink Has More Uses Than One
When an octopus or squid sprays their ink, it’s a way to hid themselves so they can get away. The ink clouds the water, but it does more than that. Some octopuses have tyrosinase in their ink, which can irritate the eyes of predators, temporarily blinding them.
All Octopuses are Venomous
It was once believed that the one truly venomous octopus was the blue-ringed octopus. However, it seems that he’s not alone. All octopuses are venomous, as are all cuttlefish, and even some squid. Most of the octopuses use their venom to help with dining, like paralyzing a crab to make it easier to get in its shell, but the blue-ringed octopuses venom is dangerous to humans.
And They have Beaks Like a Bird
You can’t see an octopus beak just watching one swim through the water. It’s not on the octopuses “face” that you see. Instead, it’s located underneath, in the center area where all of their limbs are attached. The beak looks very similar to that of a parrot. If you hold onto one (or put it on your face, like this woman), it can bite you and release the venom previously mentioned.
Octopuses look pretty strange, and knowing they have some many weird abilities makes them even more magical.