The Eight-Armed Aquatic Species

When you think of an octopus, you might not know that these creatures are great escape artists. These animals blend in with their surroundings, fit into cracks in ocean beds, and use their ink to cover up their scent. These talents help them to escape from lurking predators.

Octopuses typically weigh about 25kg and reach a length of four feet. This magnificent species also has many interesting features, including a mantle, a funnel, and suckers. The mantle, the sack that carries vital organs, is key to the octopus' camouflage skills. It fills with water, which allows the octopus to change its skin color using chromatophores. The funnel, where water from the mantle is forced out, acts as a propeller to direct the octopus through the ocean. Ink and eggs are also delivered from this funnel. While an octopus' most well-known body parts are its eight tentacles, some may not know that on the other side of each arm are two rows of powerful suckers. These suckers are sensitive and help an octopus discover its surroundings.

In addition to their unique physical make-up, octopuses have distinct hunting abilities. To capture their prey, like crabs, crayfish, and mollusks, they use a 'disorient and attack' strategy. That is, they ink their prey to disorient them before attacking. However, when an octopus sprays its ink, its prey usually has time to swim away or fight back. But, if an octopus is captured and harmed by its prey, it often suffers no true damage because its tentacles can grow back. Additionally, octopuses have beak-like jaws and venomous saliva, so their prey often stand no chance.

Octopuses breed in the springtime and lay about 150,000 eggs per breeding cycle. Next time you are near an ocean, see if you can spot one!

[Sources: National Geographic, The Encyclopedia of Animals]