Wildlife Informer is reader-supported. When you click and buy we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

10 Interesting Characteristics of Octopus

The octopus is an intelligent, fascinating creature that combines traits from both invertebrates and vertebrates. These animals are distinguished by their large head, eight arms, and two eyes on the sides of their heads. Because of its uniqueness among other creatures, scientists have always been interested in studying the characteristics of octopus.

Let’s look at some of them in this article and learn more about these amazing cephalopods.

10 Characteristics of Octopus

Giant Pacific Octopus
Giant Pacific Octopus

1. Octopuses are intelligent

Octopuses are among the most cognitive animals, and the findings imply that the octopus brain may be arranged similarly to the human hippocampus. In fact, their central nervous system contains an astounding 500 million neurons, two-thirds placed in their arms.

While other cephalopods also exhibit some of these characteristics, octopuses stand out since they’ve been shown to have highly developed problem-solving and learning abilities.

When presented with difficulty requiring them to move food from one location to another, an octopus will frequently find out how to use objects around them to help solve the problem.

This ability isn’t limited to just getting food; they’ve also been seen using tools formed from rocks or shells to reach places that are out of reach.

2. Octopuses change colors to blend in with their surroundings

Octopuses change colors to blend in with their surroundings. They can change color, shape, and texture to blend into their environment, making them difficult to spot. These cephalopods have the ability to change the texture and color of their skin in milliseconds.

They accomplish this through chromatophores, which are pigment-containing organs. When these organs contract or expand, they produce a variety of patterns and textures on the octopus’ skin. This ability provides them with a significant advantage over predators and prey.

3. Octopuses have three hearts

Mimic octopus
Mimic octopus | image by Avi Alpert via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Octopuses have multiple hearts, which are necessary for survival. The first heart is the systemic heart, which is responsible for pumping blood throughout the octopus’s body. The second and third hearts are called the branchial hearts, which pump blood to their gills.

Octopuses also have a closed circulatory system, meaning their blood doesn’t mix with any other bodily fluids. This implies that maintaining blood flow throughout these animals can be difficult, but it’s made possible by the assistance of three hearts.

4. The arms of an octopus contain two-thirds of its neurons

The nervous system of the octopus is quite unique. An octopus has a distributed nervous system, meaning that all its neurons aren’t concentrated in one place, and two-thirds are found in its arms.

The majority of the brain’s neurons are distributed throughout the body, allowing the octopus to control its body independently of its head. The arms can even do things like open a shellfish while the octopus is still looking for food.

5. Female octopuses can lay up to 80,000 eggs

Female octopuses can lay up to 80,000 eggs at a time, depending on the species. Their eggs are made in a process that lasts about 40 days, and they resemble long, white, braided strands.

The female octopus will lay her eggs on the ocean floor, preferably under rocks or coral reefs, where they’ll be safe from predators and ocean currents.

You may also like:  Characteristics of Eagles (8 Examples)

6. Octopi can squeeze through small spaces

Octopus | Image by Anja-#pray for ukraine# #helping hands# stop the war from Pixabay

Octopuses can squeeze through the tiniest spaces. In fact, their bodies are so flexible that they can fit through a one-millimeter-wide hole as long as their beaks fit through. One reason octopuses can do this is that they lack bones and instead have a soft body that allows them to bend and contort.

7. When stressed, octopuses will eat their arms

Octopuses are incredible animals, but one of their unique characteristics is that they eat their arms when stressed or placed in an unsuitable environment.

During this time, it’ll occasionally start eating its own arms to relieve stress. These are most commonly seen in aquaculture, where they’re frequently kept in small cages or aquariums.

8. Octopuses lack bones but have a parrot-like beak

Octopuses don’t have any bones. The only hard part of their body is their beak, which is made of chitin and resembles a parrot’s beak. Since octopuses eat mollusks like crabs, clams, and snails, their beaks are designed to crack open shells and other hard prey.

Octopuses are extremely flexible creatures due to the absence of any bones. They can fit through very small spaces and change shape to fit into places that other animals cannot.

9. The blood of octopuses is blue

Octopoda | Image by Sebastian Ganso from Pixabay

Octopuses have blue blood, unlike other animals, because their blood contains copper-rich hemocyanin. Hemocyanin is a protein composed of two copper atoms that transport oxygen throughout the body.

The result is a deep blue coloration that can be seen in the veins of octopuses. Hemocyanin allows the octopus to live and survive in cold, deep oceans with low oxygen levels.

10. Octopuses are semelparous, which means they reproduce once and then die

Semelparity is a reproductive strategy in which an organism reproduces once and then dies. You can find it in a variety of animals, including octopuses. Octopuses have incredibly short lifespans, living for up to three years.  And once they start to reproduce, their life is over.

The female octopus will only reproduce once. After mating, the female lays her eggs in a den she creates with her arms on the ocean floor or under rocks and coral reefs. She cares for them until they hatch, then dies soon after.

Wildlife Informer

About Wildlife Informer

WildlifeInformer.com is your #1 source for free information about all types of wildlife and exotic pets. We also share helpful tips and guides on a variety of topics related to animals and nature.