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Animal Awareness Tip: Alien or Not?

Maideline Sanchez

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The Octopus, also known as the cephalopod, is the most alien-like creature you will probably encounter on this earth. Octopuses are classified as having eight arms and no external or internal skeleton. This enables them to squeeze into tiny areas only minutely larger than their eyes. Octopuses generally have blue blood because of the different means of circulating oxygen throughout the body. The blood is mainly circulated by three hearts with two supplying for the gills and one supplying for the rest of the body.

There are three methods that an octopus can use to defend itself against predators. Inking is a common way to confuse predators when the octopus wants to escape. As the octopus suctions water into its mantle, it will release it back out for propulsion and release its ink at the same time. The ink contains the same properties as melanin which is the same chemical found in human skin and hair.

Being the masters of camouflage, they can not only change the color of their skin but also the texture in order to mimic their environment to the fullest extent. Autotomy is the method of severing a body part to distract predators, which thankfully we are not able to do. The octopus on the other hand can detach its arms when in danger and escape to the nearest hiding place. Fortunately, the cephalopod will grow its arms back gradually.

After males use a specialized spoon-like arm to scoop sperm from their own mantle and transfer them into the female, they will usually die after a few months. A female will lay thousands of eggs in a sac and hang them in different areas of her home. She will gently blow currents of water to ensure that the offspring receives sufficient oxygen. One month later when the eggs hatch, the mother will blow currents to push the offspring away. The mother will then die shortly due to starvation. It is good to know that when we have kids we will be able to see them grow and become full functioning adults.

Did you know? There is a certain Giant Pacific Octopus (Louis) that lives in Newquay’s Blue Reef Aquarium who has grown attached to a Mr. Potato Head and becomes aggressive whenever it is taken away from him.

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The Student News Source of the University of New Haven
Animal Awareness Tip: Alien or Not?