MARINE SPECIES OF THE MONTH: THE OCTOPUS
Octopus also known as octopi are apart of the cephalopod family which interestingly is Greek for “head-foot”, kind of makes sense seeing that their large eyes, eight very useful arms are all attached to their bulbous heads. Octopuses are highly intelligent animals, masters of camouflage, with inbuilt facial recognition! They have adapted and evolved over tens of millions of years, and to date there are currently 300 species that can be found in every ocean around the world
Because we can’t list the 300 different species, we’ve cut it down to the 5 interesting types of octopi you can see on a dive
Introducing to you the world’s deadliest octopus – the Blue ringed octopus
Though tiny, this one packs a lethal punch with no razor-sharp teeth or even the ability to travel particularly fast, it uses its paralysing neurotoxin that can leave unsuspecting company paralysed — or dead when bitten.
The blue ringed octopus – JumKit/Getty Images
The Coconut octopus is different to others it displays unusual behaviours including bipedal walking and tool use like gathering coconut and seashells and using these for shelter. If no shells or coconuts to use it frequently buries itself in the sand with only its eyes uncovered.
The smallest known octopus is Octopus Wolfi. It was discovered and officially classified in 1913, this little guy is at a length of less than a 1.5cm and weighs less than a gram. There is still a lot to be learned about the octopus Wolfi, although it has been noted that the males have fringe-like rims on their suckers, an uncommon trait.
Low and behold the Mimic Octopus … like other octopus it uses its chromatophores to disguise itself with its background however its ability to impersonate a wide variety of other marine animals makes it the smartest octopus species. The mimic octopus has been observed mimicking 35 different species of animals! Maybe you have already seen one without knowing.
The mimic optopus – Ellias Levy
Meet the Giant Pacific octopus. The giant pacific octopus grows bigger and lives longer than any other octopi species
They usually average around 5 meters and 45kg. The size record is held by a specimen that was 9.2 meters across and weighed more than 272 kilos
What do you think … impressive right!
Octopuses are spread throughout a large ocean area and because they are a solitary animal, it makes it quite difficult to determine the status of their populations. They are not believed to be under threat, but they are sensitive to pollutants. Scientists are still discovering new species of octopuses, so we need to love them and all 3 of their hearts and protect their environments.
We hope to see you underwater soon.
Leila Barnsley ~ Scuba World Instructor