ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Amazing Octopus

Updated on July 14, 2011
The octopus is a mollusc of great complexity. Its body plan is versatile and is one of the most intelligent of the invertebrates.
The octopus is a mollusc of great complexity. Its body plan is versatile and is one of the most intelligent of the invertebrates.

The octopus is a mollusk and has that phylum's characteristic traits, among them, Its "muscular foot" which has evolved into parts of its head and eight tentacles. Unlike its mollusk counterparts it has done away without any shell, internal or external, much as slugs have shed their snail shell. The resulting body is one of great agility and dexterity at the cost outer production.

The "arms"

Octopi have eight arms or tentacles which have a great deal flexibility. They are also laden with suction cups on the bottom, not just for movement but also for touch and taste, the suction cups contain chemo sensors that allow the octopus to taste the world around it. The octopus also has a developed sense of touch as well. Given the range of dexterity and sensation, it should come as little surprise that octopi are highly curious animals, feeling and tasting their way around the environment.

Locomotion:

The octopus has three methods of getting around. Either it can crawl over an area of its tentacles, swim, or propel itself through water jets (which send the octopus flying head first with its tentacles trailing beyond it. In either case the octopus has both complex eyes and statocysts that detect changes in orientation. This allows the octopus (like human beings) to focus their eyes on one object even when they are moving.

Predators and Predation

All octopus species are carnivores, but their lack of a shell puts them in danger as well. One adaptation that addresses both issues is the development of chromatophores, pigment cells that can rapidly change the color of the creature. This is better developed in some species more than others, but the octopus is a master of disguise. This lets it trap its prey without alerting large animals. The octopus can also (notoriously) squirt out jets of ink. Most of this substance is melanin (the pigment responsible for skin color) and it can serve a number of purposes from temporarily blinding predators by sight but also by smell. One of the intended effects is for the predator to attack the ink blot while the octopus finds some place to hide. Even without these adaptations the octopus is no light weight, as the next video shows.


Intelligence

Among these array of exotic features, it is octopus intelligence that is truly remarkable. Given the need of the octopus to go find prey combined with its complex body leads the octopus to a complex brain, probably the most complex in the invertebrates. Experiments confirm that an octopus both remembers and learns in a variety of ways, including classical conditioning. Moreover the octopus brain seems to have an entire structure, the vertical lobe, for learning and memory. Inneveration of other areas of the octopus brain seem to impair sensory or motor function, but inneveration or removal of the vertical lobe seems to do nothing until the octopus attempts learning and memory tasks.

This learning and memory can be best seen when an octopus engages in novel behavior. Octopi are also known for opening human lobster traps to find food. An octopus is also a notoriously difficult animal to keep in an aquarium and has been known to switch tanks in search of food. There have been documented cases of an octopus throwing rocks against tank glass, and in one instance short circuiting nearby lighting equipment with water jets. There is also documentation of tool use (coconut shells as shelter). For scientists, the octopus allows us to compare complex brains of highly divergent animals.

For a more comprehensive look at the invertabrates, check here.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)