If there were one creature that lived in the sea providing both endless fascination and intrigue – we would have to say it is the Octopus.
An Octopus has eight arms, each with its own mini brain and a complex locomotive capability that allows the arms to move independently. They also have three hearts, one heart pumping blood around the body, while the other two pump it past the gills, to pick up oxygen.
Without a backbone, bones or vertebral column, the Octopus is extremely flexible and can compress its body to fit into very small places.
The arms of an adult octopus can have up to 200 suction cups called suckers per arm. Each sucker can move, extend, contract and suction independently. In addition, through the suckers, the octopus can detect chemical changes in the water.
Camouflage, Color and texture.
They can change their skin color in seconds from completely white to completely red. The variety of colors they can display are red, pink, brown, purple and white. This is not only beautiful to witness but also functional, Octopuses use color change for both camouflage and depending on their mood.
If that wasn’t amazing enough, to add to the talents of this marine magician, to blend in perfectly, the Octopus can also adapt its skin texture. When on a smooth surface, the octopus’s skin is smooth; on a coarse, porous rock, the octopus’s skin can turn coarse and spongy. The eight-armed master of disguise can even turn its skin spiky or bumpy if needed.
How is that possible? By expanding and shrinking blood vessels, the skin alters its surface shape.
Many believe that octopuses are the most intelligent invertebrates in the entire ocean. True or false, most of an octopus's neurons are in its arms (not in its brain), this, together with its elaborate anatomy, allows it to capture and process a significant amount of information through touch. This is why octopuses are effective when it comes to multitasking, a skill that more than one of us would like to have, as well as being able to learn and repeat a complex series of steps to, for example extract a food from a maze, jar, etc.
Octopuses have demonstrated intelligence in a number of ways, at our ocean parks, we feed our octopuses from a bottle. We put the food inside a clear plastic bottle and close it with the lid. After a few days of learning, the octopus takes the bottle, opens it by twisting the lid, inserts its arms and grabs the food. The reason we feed our octopus in this way is to challenge it and keep it occupied otherwise it would be extremely bored. There is evidence that octopuses use "tools" and that they can learn by observing, other octopuses performing by watching other octopuses perform complex tasks.
With the gift of intelligence always comes the gift of being choosy, as octopuses display different types of temperament and preference towards different types of temperament and preference activities and objects. We have seen with our octopuses that some are shy, some are curious, some are quite daring.
Octopuses are solitary animals and come together only for breeding. Major factors that play a role in this are that they can be cannibalistic and are territorial.
After the male fertilizes the eggs, (which is occasionally followed by the female eating him), the female lays the eggs inside a cave and glues them to a rock.
She can lay an average of 57,000 eggs. For half a year until the eggs hatch the female Octopus stops eating, does not leave her nest and guards the batch of eggs 24 hours a day.
After the baby Octopuses hatch, in most cases, the female dies. The young Octopuses do not stay together because they are cannibals. Of the 57,000 eggs that were laid, astonishingly only two will survive to reach adulthood. That is all nature needs- One to replace the female that died after the eggs hatched, and one to replace the male that the female ate after mating!