Facts about Octopus

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The word ‘˜Octopus’ originates from Greek, oktopous, a combination of two words ‘˜Oct’ for eight and ‘˜pus’ for foot.  There are 300 varieties of octopodes (plural for octopus) originating from the class of cephalopods known as octopoda.  They are marine mollusc with well-defined head, eyes and possessing four pair of arms.  

Fact 1.   Female octopuses are known to lay eggs, watch over them during incubation then succumb to death. A female octopus lays about 20,000 to 100,000 eggs over a period of several days. Incubation of eggs can extend to five or more months depending on the temperature. During this period, the female is totally dedicated to the care of the eggs at the expense of starving.   Once the eggs are hatched or shortly thereafter, the female octopus dies.

Fact  2.   An octopus possesses a chameleon like quality in being able to change its outer skin to blend in with its surroundings.

Fact 3.   Ink made from melanin, the same pigment found in the skin and hair of humans, is used as a defensive tool to ward off predators and to catch prey. The ink originally red in colour turns black on oxidation. It contains a chemical called tyrosinase, which can irritate the eyes and paralyze the olfactory senses of those under its radar.

Fact 4.
Considered one of the most intelligent invertebrates, they can take instructions, observe and be trained to demonstrate specific behaviours. They are also sentient animals possessing highly developed senses with an acute sense of the environment.

Fact 5.  
An octopus who achieved short-lived notoriety was Paul the Octopus, who predicted correctly most of the 2010World Cup matches especially those involving Germany.

Fact 6.  Octopuses are flexible creatures able to squeeze into nooks and crannies regardless of narrowness.  Aided by an absence of bones, a hundred pound, eight foot octopus will be able to squeeze into an orange sized opening.

Fact 7.
Possessing the largest brain amongst invertebrates, octopuses have 130 million neurons as compared to human’s 100 billion neurons. Three-fifths of the octopus’s neurons are found in its arms and is distributed throughout its body.

Fact 8.  
Dues to its muscular structure and its distribution of neurons in its limbs, scientist has adapted these features and are working on a robotic octopus arm which can wrap around objects before grasping it. This would add-value to underwater explorations and search and rescue missions.

Fact 9.
Crustaceans such as hard-shelled crabs and scallops are the main diet of octopuses. Preparation begins with saliva secreted to soften the hard shell of the prey. A tiny hole is drilled in the shell, which is then secreted with a toxin that paralyzes the prey and softens the tissues.

Fact 10.  
An octopus has three hearts and blue blood (not of royal lineage).Two hearts are required for pumping blood to the gills and one central heart to pump oxygenation blood throughout its body. The blue blood is due to the binding of oxygen using a blue, copper-containing protein called hemocyanin.

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