Fascinating Facts: Octopus

There are around 300 species of octopus ranging from the largest Giant Pacific octopus which can weigh up to 275kg, to the smallest in the Octopus Wolfi which is little more than 2cm long and weighs less than a gram.

Besides being the ultimate escape artists, how much do you know about these mysterious creatures?

  1. The word ‘Octopus” derives from the Greek word oktopous which means “eight-footed.”
  2. A common misconception is that the plural for many octopuses is octopi — the plural is octopuses, given it derives from Greek, not Latin.

3. An octopus doesn’t have tentacles — it has arms. More than two-thirds of an octopus’ neurons are located in these appendages.

4. Octopuses have three hearts; one heart is responsible for pumping blood around their body, and the other two hearts pump blood to the gills and the outer extremities of the body.

5. The average Giant Pacific octopus will lay approximately 90,000 eggs soon after which she will die.

6. The Blue Ring Octopus is one of the most deadly animals in the sea. While it looks stunning with its iridescent blue rings and is relatively non-aggressive, its venom is potent.

7. Octopuses use their ink to create a smoke screen to allow them to escape from situations, the ink may also impact the predator’s sense of sight or smell.

8. The oldest known octopus fossil dates back to 296 million years ago.

9. Octopuses have a copper based blood which looks blue and is more efficient at transporting oxygen when the water temperature is low.

10. The Octopus is sensitive to pH levels of water making it particularly susceptible to acidification due to climate change.