Imagine a creature from another world that has 9 brains, 3 hearts, and blue blood. It sounds like an alien from a science fiction movie, but they actually live here on this planet. Their collective name is octopuses and fossil records have shown that they have been around for at least 300 million years which is a long time before the dinosaurs arrived. All species of octopus are venomous but only one (The Blue-ringed octopus) is dangerous to humans.
There are 300 known species of octopus including the Deep sea Octopus, Blue Ringed Octopus, Dumbo Octopus, Mimic Octopus or the Giant Pacific Octopus which can grow to more than 3 meters in length.
Octopuses come under the biological classification of Cephalopods which also includes squid and cuttlefish.
Octopuses grow very fast and can live as little as 6 months or as long as 5 years. The lifespan of an octopus is determined by whether it mates or not as both male and female octopuses will die soon after their mating encounter. The male octopus will die within a few months and the female will die even quicker. She will use all of her energy guarding her eggs and during this period she will stop eating and eventually die of starvation. The female octopus can lay around one hundred thousand eggs or more. Most of the eggs will get eaten by other marine life, with the few tiny survivors floating around mid-water before eventually settling on the seafloor. Most will not even make it to the seafloor as they will quickly get scooped up by larger fish and other predators.
As the mother octopus will not be there to care for its young, the baby octopus has to fend for itself, find its own food and build its own den. It may create several habitats during its life, such as a hideout in between some rocks or a hole in the sand. Scuba divers have witnessed octopuses living inside discarded bottles and even laying their eggs inside the bottle for extra protection. The juvenile octopuses will grow very quickly but they will still have to be careful of other predators which include bigger fish, some species of whale, sharks or dolphins. Humans also have a taste for cephalopods with more than 300,000 tonnes caught by fishermen each year. Most are fished and eaten in southeast Asia or around the Mediterranean.
Because the octopus has no bones, it is incredibly flexible and can quickly change its shape and squeeze itself through small holes. They can change the color of their skin in less than a second and quickly blend into the background of the coral or the sea bed. An Octopus can keep its eyes in the same position and on the same object whilst changing direction, forward, backward or even upside down. Octopuses can squeeze through very small holes as they have no skeleton They usually live alone and will build a safe habitat to live in. They can use seashells, rocks or even a coconut shell to make themselves a simple but effective hideaway.
Octopus arms are attached to their head and If it has an arm bitten off it can grow another one back again
They have one main brain but each of its arms also has a brain. Each arm is mostly made of muscle which makes them very strong and each arm has around 200 suckers on them which can be used for walking across the sea bed whilst its arm is searching for food as it travels.
Another propulsion method is for the octopus to blast water through its funnel which causes it to move along in a backward motion.
One of the hearts pumps the blood around the octopus body while the other 2 hearts pump blood to its gills Octopus blood is blue because it is copper-based, unlike human blood which is iron-based.
It is well known that octopuses squirt ink to confuse their prey but the ink also contains a substance that can cause an itchy sensation for any of its predators.
An octopus will use its arms and suckers to capture its prey and even with a crab it can quickly overpower it and pull it towards its hidden beak that it uses for breaking open shells. It also has a barbed tongue as well as muscular drilling like organ that can weaken the shell of its prey and then kill it with its venom.
Marine scientists and scuba divers have witnessed octopuses showing signs of intelligent behavior in their ocean habitat.
The octopus shows a high level of brain organization by being able to coordinate its thousands of color-changing cells. The main brain will initially let the arms know what it wants to do and then each arm will work by itself. Most of the octopus neurons are in its arms and each arm has the ability to touch, taste or smell.
Octopuses have shown to be very curious creatures that show signs of intelligence. In laboratory experiments, they have been able to unscrew a lid or find their way through a maze. Scientists have given them puzzles to solve and some octopuses are aware that they are being kept in a holding tank and will even try to escape. They have been known to climb out in search of food, break the aquarium lights or even block off the water pumps.