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The Ocean's Cephalopods: What are they and how do they interact with other marine life?

Updated on January 24, 2012

What exactly is a Cephalopod?

The Cephalopod is a marine life form, one that is part of the molluscan family, such as the cuttlefish, the smaller squid, or its greatest cousin, the octopus; all displaying characteristics that define bilateral body symmetry. Around the world, or in areas with medium to high salinity levels, over eight hundred various species of cephalopod have been discovered. Over the years, the size of the octopuses that make up a majority of the species, have begun to dwindle to half the size of what they originally were. Their species can be found in a more diverse area around the equator, and slowly diminishes as the seawaters approach the opposite poles.

A Prehistoric History of Cephalopods

From the early Paleozoic to the Mesozoic, cephalopods have traveled the seas, and like a well-built machine, have survived even the most toughest of prehistoric animals such as the distant cousins of the Great White, and some mythologies like the ancient Greek and Celtic origins talk of marine creatures with multiple tentacles that would simply attack whole ships at the time, killing everyone aboard. Some of these ancient life forms held shells upon their bodies made up of aragonite and calcite, and this formed ribs and sharp points upon their exteriors to defend against predators better.

Basic Characteristics and Features

In the various species, most present very similar functions that all place these marine life into the Cephalopod categories. The most important feature of the majority of the subgroups is the ability to secrete an ink discharge in order to efficiently evade and distract aggressors. Perhaps one of their most unusual features is that they are truly social creatures, therefore if not part of their own kind, they would resort to shoaling with other marine life, or schooling. These unique life forms use a pigment in their skin for lighting called chromatophores, a substance that can camouflage them from other predators; also bio luminance which shines a fake light below the cephalopod to prevent their shadows from being spotted by enemies around them.

A Shape Shifting Cephalopod?

From the intertidal regions to the deep Abysses of the oceans of the world, cephalopods make their homes, and with some of the different qualities each has, it can be a most exciting look into the world of both fashion and deception all in one. A great example of a beautiful yet deceptive cephalopods is the Mimic Octopus, a marine creature distinguished by its ability to take the forms of other marine life, such as snakes, stingrays, flounders, and mantis shrimp, among a few unlikely others. It is this deception that keeps this particular cephalopod from encountering excess aggression from hungry predators, allowing for a quick escape if needed too.

So a Cephalopod is..

In conclusion, these cephalopods offer the world both a way to study neuro-physiology, mainly because of the nerve fibers in these animals, and the chance to see nature at its finest in the process. In the near future, scientists are trying to bring about the realities of true camouflage based off the models and pigments that these creatures carry on their bodies. In the large bodies of water that we have yet to even begin to explore the deepest areas, there may carry the mythological realities of ever growing octopuses and squids that the fishermen used to tell tales of and still do to this day.


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    • BakerRambles profile image

      BakerRambles 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD

      Your welcome, I'm glad you enjoyed it.

    • happyturtle profile image

      happyturtle 5 years ago from UK

      I learnt today they are called Cephalopod. Thanks.

    • BakerRambles profile image

      BakerRambles 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD

      Thats really cool. Did you ever figure out if it had any truth to it? We can only dive so far, so theres plenty of larger ones out there.

    • noturningback profile image

      noturningback 5 years ago from Edgewater, MD. USA

      They taste good too. I like bbq calamari. The giant squid has been known to attack submarines! When I was in the navy, I heard of their hooks being embedded into the sub's hull.