Octopus in Culture

Octopus influence in Popular Culture

The Octopus is a creature like no other, and you will find plenty of early stories dating back hundreds of years. Many at sea referred to the Octopus as the eight legged sea monster. They were afraid of it and stories circulated about it tipping over boats and taking humans in its arms.

Of course we now know that those were simply myths, a way of explaining things that went awry at sea. Yet long ago they didn’t have all of the information as we have today. They didn’t realize the tides could upset the boats or cause them to get off course. The materials to build boats weren’t the best either and so many of them failed to hold up to what nature put against it.

The Mediterranean people took a keen interest in the Octopus and had a great deal of respect for it. Many of their early paintings and drawings show this creature. The ancient people of Peru were believed to worship many creatures in the water including the Octopus. It was often included in their ritual ceremonies.

According to the legends of the Hawaiian people, the Octopus is actually a type of alien. They believe that this is the last remaining type of alien that lives on Earth. The people of Hawaii have long considered seeing these animals in the water to be a symbol of good luck.

You will find some books about this creature but not too many. One where it is a man character though is called Toilers of the Sea by Victor Hugo. It was published in 1866 and you may be able to get a copy of it online if you are interested.

The Kraken is a common character from early stories too. In mythology it is the creature that is commonly called a sea monster. It is believed that this type of creature was responsible for various mishaps to those making a living on the sea. It is believed the Kraken was angry over the fish that were being taken from the sea. This sea monster is derived from the images of large Octopus.

In the Disney production of the Little Mermaid, Ursula is the mean Octopus that lives in the sea. Her body is like that of this creature but she has a human head. She is very manipulative and evil when she doesn’t get her own way. Yet in true fair tale fashion this evil villain is conquered by good.

Even though the Little Mermaid was a huge hit, many parents complained to Disney that their children found Ursula to be too evil and too mean looking. In fact, she scared many children to the point that they didn’t want to finish watching the movie. In many packed theatres parents would walk out with crying children when her scenes came on in the movie.

Another wonderful animated show is Oswald, offered through Nickelodeon. In this story, Oswald is a big blue Octopus. He has many adventures in New York along with his friends. The show features Oswald being helpful, learning new things, and exploring his musical talents.

Most of the elements with the Octopus in popular culture depicts it as a very dangerous creature though for humans to avoid. In reality though they are solitary animals and they tend to live their lives avoiding humans and other creatures in the water. They aren’t looking for people to squeeze to death or to eat as many stories portray about them. Breaking free from these negative images can be difficult though because they are so deeply rooted into various elements of history.

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Octopus Research

Octopus Scientific Research

The area of Octopus research is one that has given us answers to some very tough questions. Yet it has also brought up many more. One of the interesting things about these animals is that they have a very short life span. It seems that they are instinctively programmed to die shortly after mating.

Another area of Octopus research covers the ink that they are able to release from their bodies. It is a defense mechanism so that they have a chance to get away from predators. The dark ink makes it hard for the predator to see or to be able to smell. In fact, it is able to completely disorient them for a small period of time, and that is when the Octopus makes its getaway.

It is also known that the smaller an Octopus is the more dangerous it can be to other creatures in the water. This is because their venom is more toxic when they are a smaller size. The larger species aren’t nearly as much of a danger which is ironic because they are the ones that the other animals will avoid in the water.

Many people don’t think of intelligence when the Octopus is the topic but they are extremely intelligent. Through plenty of research we have learned some amazing things in this particular area. Yet we don’t really fully understand the full extend of their intelligence yet. More testing will have to be conducted to find out what that limit happens to be.

Testing that has been conducted in the past couple of years with Octopus shows that they are able to have both short and long term memories. These studies have also helped us to explore the way in which the human brain is able to story memories as well as to recall them at later times.

One of the barriers when it comes to testing their level of intelligence happens to be there very short life span. That type of studying simply can’t be rushed so it is even harder with the many species of Octopus that only live for about six months. They are able to tell the difference in various shapes and patterns according to some of the studies that have been done. They also demonstrate problem solving skills which is quite amazing to those observing them.

It can be very difficult for Octopus to survive in captivity. That proves to be another reason why it is hard to study them extensively. Most of the data that is collected takes place in their natural habitat. Yet there is a limit to what researchers can do without disrupting them. At the same time precautions have to be taken to make sure that there isn’t danger to the humans from other creatures in the water.

It is a myth that Octopus will eat their own arms. What has been discovered through research is that they will use their beaks to peck at them from time to time. This process is believed to be the result of some type of neurological disorder. It can also be the result of a virus that attacks the nervous system.

Octopus research can be very expensive and it can also take a long time to get results. Even with advanced technology on our side, there is plenty that remains a mystery about them. Finding the funding source to pay for such research is often difficult as well. Getting grant funds or private donors involved can be hard too due to the various forms of red tape that have to be unraveled along the way.

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Octopus as Food

Octopus in Gastronomy

It is acceptable in many cultures all over the world to consume Octopus. In many areas it is considered a delicacy and it is very expensive to purchase. Some people assume that it is just the arms that are eaten but that isn’t always the case. Various body parts can be used in certain dishes. What is interesting is that there are so many ways to prepare Octopus out there.

If you have tried Octopus before and didn’t like it, you should give it another try. Find it prepared another way from a restaurant or have a great time cooking it at home on your own. Some people think that it has a slimy texture to it or that it is tough to chew. That would depend on the species of Octopus you happen to be eating.

This is widely used in both Japanese and Chinese foods. It is often eaten raw in the Japanese culture though. If you are familiar with sushi in any way then you may have consumed some Octopus in it. One of the many reasons why people it is that it is very nutritious. Octopus is a low calorie food and it is also very filling. It also contains a variety of vitamins that are needed by the body. The Greek love to create dishes with the Octopus being grilled over an open flame.

When you are buying Octopus to cook at home it is important to note that the finished volume could be less than half of what you take home. Therefore you need to buy enough of it to make sure you have plenty for all that will be joining you for dinner. You also need to keep Octopus cold until you are ready to cook it. Food poisoning can occur if it gets too warm so never leave it sitting out.

You can buy it in one of two ways. Cleaned Octopus is ready to take home and to cook with immediately. It can be harder to come by though so you may have to search around our area to find someone that offers it. This type of Octopus is also more expensive due to that convenience.

Octopus that isn’t cleaned is less expensive but you are going to have to do some work with it. Make sure your hands are clean before you start working with it. Remove the ink sac and the stomach. Place the washed Octopus and place it in a pot of boiling water for about 10 minutes. Remove it, drain all the water, and allow it to completely cool. Then there will be an outer membrane that you can easily peel away.

In some locations it is a novelty to be able to consume squid while they are still alive. This is in reference to the extremely small species though. A person is taking a risk doing so though. There have been incidents of people choking to death while doing so. As the Octopus is being swallowed, the legs can be spread out and that can result in choking. While this doesn’t occur very often, you may not want to take a chance that it could happen to you.

It can be very expensive to buy Octopus to cook on your own or when you go to a restaurant. This is due to the process of capturing and processing it. To help with the demand for Octopus as a source of food and to lower costs, there are some businesses where they raise them for the purpose of selling them to be used as food.

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Octopus in Commercial Fishing

Octopus and Fishing

There are two sides to consider when it comes to Octopus and commercial fishing. Octopus are found in all oceans around the world but what you will capture really depends on the location. With more than 300 species of them identified they are very diverse. Some Octopus are found in shallow waters but the majority of them are several hundred feet below the surface.

It is no secret that Octopus is a very common food item in many parts of the world. It is used to create a variety of dishes, and it is often part of the main course. Yet there are plenty of recipes that allow it to be used for an appetizer or as a side dish too. The versatility of it as well as consumer demand means that plenty of money can be made through commercial fishing for it.

The majority of Octopus captured for food takes place in Alaska and along the shores of Japan. There are very large pods used to capture them that are released off the sides of fishing boats. The pods are checked routinely and the capture brought on board. The yield can bring in lots of money for the captain and the crew because there are plenty of locations out there interested in buying Octopus.

In most locations though a permit has to be obtained in order to be able to legally take part in commercial fishing for Octopus. In an effort to ensure that their numbers remain high enough this is controlled. As the demand goes up though the cost of Octopus will continue to get higher and higher. It is a million dollar annual operation though which is why so many commercial fishing operations do want to be involved with it.

The work can be very time consuming as well as extremely dangerous. It isn’t for those that aren’t physically able to handle working long hours in tough conditions. How long a boat will remain on the water before returning to shore depends on the location as well as how much Octopus they have been able to collect.

Developing better operations and equipment have helped to reduce the amount of time it takes to get a great capture of Octopus. It can be hard though to capture only a specific type of it. You have to be very specific about where you will be at in the water.

Octopus though can create quite a few problems for commercial fishing when it comes to other types of captures. They are very good at problem solving so they can actually open up traps for crabs and other types of sea foods. This can result in the pods set out by commercial fishermen yielding very little or nothing at all. When they are losing money due to the Octopus they aren’t very happy about it at all.

For the Octopus though this method offers them access to plenty of food without having to really hunt for it. They have excellent memories so once they learn how to open the traps and where they are located they will continue to return to them again and again. That is why trapping them becomes a priority with many of these commercial fishing operations. They need the Octopus to be out of the way so they can keep their volume up.

Octopus are known to be tangled up in netting and other types of commercial fishing equipment as well. While they aren’t the intended target they can easily drown as they struggle to break free. Their bodies can be severely injured as well so they are no longer able to move around and get prey as they must if they are going to survive.

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