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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Reef Octopus On Sand Field

Reef Octopus On Sand Field

Reef Octopus On Sand Field

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Seven-Arm Octopus

Seven-Arm Octopus – Haliphron atlanticus

Description

What makes the Seven-Arm Octopus stand out from the other 300 species is that it has one less arm than they all do. Well, that is how it appears anyway. They actually do have eight arms but one of them is extremely hard to notice. It is formed into a type of sac that is below the eyes. What is also known is that this look of seven arms is only for the males.

It is a very large species as well so it definitely gets quite a bit of recognition from both researchers and common people with an interest in these creatures. They can grow to a size of about 13 feet and weigh about 150 pounds. There is no size differentiation between the males and the females.

Distribution

This particular species of Octopus wasn’t identified until 2002. It was accidentally captured around the area of New Zealand. Researchers quickly took to the area to see what they could find out about them.

Behavior

This particular species of Octopus continues to follow suit with so many other species. It is highly intelligent with an ability to easily adapt to the environment. They are able to hide in cracks and crevices due to the flexibility of their bodies. They are also able to change colors to blend into their surroundings. They can do this by controlling their pigment.

Diet /Feeding

They consume a variety of different foods including fish, mollusks, and crustaceans. They tend to be opportunistic feeders instead of very picky as many other species of Octopus are. They have a very strong beak so they can almost always break through the shell of any food they capture.

When they aren’t able to they will drill holes in it and suck out the food source. As they attempt to capture their prey they can immediately immobilize them by biting them. This releases a very powerful venom into the body of their prey. These Octopus do consume large amounts of food. They hunt at night and are able to sneak up on their prey due to blending in. They have remarkable eyesight so they have no trouble at all seeing in the waters.

Reproduction

When it is time for mating, the males will come into contact with females. It isn’t uncommon for the males to mate with several different females during a given season. The males will soon die after the mating season is over. This is due to a mechanism in their bodies that will shut it down after they are done creating sperm and depositing it into the body cavities of the females.

The females will carry the sperm with them for abut four weeks before the eggs are ready to be fertilized by it. They can lay several thousand eggs at one time. They will find a place in the coral reef or in crevices to be able to deposit those eggs. The females stay very close to protect them from predators. They also keep them clean by blowing water on them and creating bubbles.

By the time that the eggs are ready to hatch the female is exhausted. She hasn’t eaten for a very long time and she is close to death. She won’t live long enough to see all of her eggs hatch. The young are able to swim and to find food on their own. They are vulnerable though and that is why the mortality rate is extremely high.

Human interaction

Sometimes this particular species of Octopus ends up tangled in the commercial fishing nets out there. It is believed they are following the sources of food in the water then this occurs. Many commercial fishermen are upset by the presence of this particular creature as it can result in lower yields of capture for them.

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California Two-Spot Octopus

California Two-Spot Octopus – Octopus bimaculoides

Description

The California Two-Spot Octopus offers a very distinct appearance. It is also known by the name Bimac Octopus. They have blue spots around the eyes that can vary as far as the shade of it. The body spans about 7 inches in regards to the mantle. The arms though are considerably longer with a reach of about 25 inches.

The coloring for the overall body though can be very different, it all depends on where they happen to be in their environment. They are commonly a grayish coloring with yellow spots on them. They do have the ability to change colors though through the control of their pigments.

Distribution

With a name like this, there is no guess work involved with where they happen to be located. They do very well in the warm waters, from 65 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit. While that is where most of them live though there are some other locations they have for habitat as well. They include the waters of Mexico, Africa, and areas of Japan.

They tend to live about 65 feet below the surface of the water. Generally Octopus live much deeper so this gives people the opportunity to see them frequently compared to other species. Therefore they are in the shallow areas so they can reach the sandy bottoms of the water. They like to hide in rocks and crevices found there.

Behavior

When it comes to Octopus this is believed to be one of the friendliest species. They do spend most of their time isolated. However, if you are going to have a type of Octopus as a pet then this would be the one to have. They are very intelligent animals though so if you have one as a pet you need to be prepared. They are known to find ways to take the lids off of aquariums and escape.

They don’t seem to go into hiding as much as other species of Octopus in the wild. They seem to be more confident in their ability to blend in. They are tolerant of other types of Octopus around them too as long as they aren’t directly competing for food.

Bimac octopus characteristics

California Two-Spot Octopus – Octopus bimaculoides / Photo taken by Jeremyse

Diet /Feeding

The California Two- Spot Octopus has plenty of opportunity for feeding where they reside. A steady stream of mollusks and crustaceans are readily available. They are easily able to remove the shells from most of their prey. Those that they can’t are removed through the toxins in their saliva. These Octopus will also eat small fish when they have the opportunity.

Reproduction

Mating takes place at a young age for these Octopus as they have a life span of no more than two years. The males will avoid females until they are ready for mating, and then aggressively pursue them. It is common for them to mate with as many females as they can. After that period of time is over though the functions of the body simply start shutting down. The males won’t live more than a few weeks after mating.

The females have the same destiny, but first they have to fertilize their eggs with the sperm that the male has deposited into their body cavity. They will fertilize the thousands of eggs one by one. Then they tuck them under their arms in an effort to protect them until they are ready to hatch. Exhausted and without food for months the female will die as they start to hatch.

Human interaction

Many people have reported interacting with this particular species of Octopus due to the shallow waters where they live. Generally the Octopus will swim away in a hurry. Sometimes it will release ink too in order to help them get away without being followed. They aren’t dangerous to humans so there is nothing to worry about if you are in the water with them.

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