Living the Sunshine Life

Read & Think > Ten Questions


  • There are over 300 different types of octopussies, and they aren’t like anything of this world.
  • I’m still not sure on the plural form of octopus, and octopussies sounds right. 
  • Octopussies are very likely alien beings sent to Earth to teach us compassion.

Octopuses, with their enigmatic and otherworldly appearance, have long fascinated scientists and curious minds alike. These remarkable creatures are members of the class Cephalopoda, which also includes squids and cuttlefish. Octopuses are known for their intelligence, adaptability, and intriguing characteristics.


How many species of octopussies are there?

The diversity within the octopus family is truly remarkable, with over 300 currently recognized species inhabiting a vast range of aquatic environments across the globe. From the colorful coral reefs of the tropics to the icy depths of the polar regions, octopuses have adapted to thrive in a multitude of habitats, each species boasting unique characteristics and behaviors.

One of the most captivating and well-known species is the giant Pacific octopus, the largest of all octopus species, reaching impressive sizes of up to 16 feet in length and weighing over 100 pounds. These intelligent creatures are known for their problem-solving skills and ability to camouflage seamlessly with their surroundings.

Another fascinating species is the mimic octopus, renowned for its exceptional ability to imitate the appearance and movements of other marine animals, such as sea snakes, lionfish, and flatfish, to deter predators and attract prey.

The dumbo octopus, a deep-sea dweller, is instantly recognizable by its ear-like fins that resemble the oversized ears of Disney’s beloved elephant character. These adorable creatures gracefully glide through the dark depths of the ocean, using their fins for propulsion and steering.

These are just a few examples of the incredible diversity found within the octopus family, each species playing a vital role in the delicate balance of their respective ecosystems. As scientists continue to explore the depths of the ocean, it is likely that more fascinating octopus species will be discovered, further enriching our understanding of these enigmatic and intelligent creatures.

F/U Question: Why don’t you use “octopussies” as the plural form? I thought that was the technical term.

While “octopuses” is the most commonly accepted plural form, “octopi” is also used, though less frequently. “Octopodes” is technically correct based on the Greek origin of the word but is rarely used in everyday language.

“Octopussies” is not a recognized or accepted plural form for “octopus.” It may be used informally or playfully, but it is not considered technically correct in scientific or academic contexts.


Octopussies are super smart — what’s their brain like?

The octopus brain is a marvel of nature, a testament to the incredible intelligence and adaptability of these enigmatic creatures. While vastly different from the mammalian brain, it is remarkably complex and capable of sophisticated cognitive functions. The octopus possesses a centralized brain in its head, but what sets it apart is the presence of eight additional “mini-brains” located in each of its arms. These mini-brains are interconnected with the central brain but also capable of acting independently, allowing for a decentralized nervous system that enables remarkable dexterity and responsiveness.

The octopus brain contains approximately 500 million neurons, a number comparable to that of a dog. However, the distribution of these neurons is unique, with two-thirds residing in the arms. This allows for remarkable autonomous control of each arm, enabling complex manipulations, problem-solving, and even independent exploration.

Studies have shown octopuses to be capable of impressive feats of learning and memory, spatial navigation, and tool use. They can navigate mazes, solve puzzles, and even unscrew jar lids. Their ability to camouflage themselves by rapidly changing skin color and texture is also a testament to the intricate neural control of their chromatophores, specialized pigment cells.

The octopus brain remains an area of active research, with scientists continually uncovering new insights into its unique structure and function. Understanding the complexities of this extraordinary organ not only sheds light on the remarkable intelligence of these creatures but also offers potential inspiration for advancements in robotics and artificial intelligence. The octopus brain is a testament to the diversity of intelligence in the animal kingdom and a reminder that complex cognitive abilities can arise from unexpected evolutionary paths.

F/U Question: How do researchers put octopussies into an MRI machine?

Putting octopuses into an MRI machine presents unique challenges due to their soft bodies, aversion to confined spaces, and need for water. Researchers have developed innovative methods to safely and effectively scan these fascinating creatures:

Octopuses are typically sedated using a magnesium chloride solution, which relaxes their muscles and reduces stress during the scanning process. This ensures their safety and prevents them from harming themselves or the equipment. After sedation, the octopus is carefully placed in a custom-designed holder or container filled with seawater. This holder provides a secure environment and helps to maintain the octopus’s natural posture while minimizing movement during the scan.

To ensure the octopus receives sufficient oxygen throughout the procedure, the seawater in the holder is continuously oxygenated. This is crucial for maintaining their well-being during sedation.

MRI machines used for octopus research are often equipped with specialized coils designed to optimize image quality for soft tissues and compensate for the presence of water. Throughout the scanning process, researchers closely monitor the octopus’s vital signs, such as heart rate and respiration, to ensure their safety and comfort.

Once the scan is complete, the octopus is gently removed from the MRI machine and returned to its tank, where it typically recovers quickly from the sedation. This approach has allowed researchers to gain valuable insights into the complex neuroanatomy of octopuses, contributing to our understanding of their remarkable intelligence and unique biology.


What’s special about the organs of an octopus?

Octopuses possess a fascinating array of specialized organs that set them apart from most other creatures on Earth. Their three hearts work together to pump blood, ensuring efficient oxygen distribution throughout their complex bodies. Perhaps even more remarkable is their decentralized nervous system, with two-thirds of their neurons located in their eight arms, allowing each arm to act independently and make decisions without input from the central brain. This distributed intelligence grants them incredible dexterity and problem-solving abilities.

Additionally, octopuses have unique pigment-containing cells called chromatophores in their skin, which they can manipulate to change color and texture instantaneously. This camouflage mechanism allows them to blend seamlessly with their surroundings, a crucial adaptation for both predation and defense.


F/U Question: Could an octopus learn how to play the piano?

Their incredible dexterity, coupled with their distributed nervous system, might suggest a potential for learning complex tasks like playing the piano. While octopuses have been observed manipulating objects and even opening jars, the intricate finger movements and coordination required for piano playing might be a challenge, even for these intelligent creatures. However, with their adaptable nature and problem-solving prowess, it’s not entirely out of the realm of possibility that, given the right environment and training, an octopus could learn to interact with a piano in a rudimentary way.

Whether or not an octopus could master a musical instrument like a human remains a question open for speculation. However, their unique biology and remarkable abilities continue to fascinate scientists and the public alike, showcasing the astonishing diversity of life on our planet.


Can Octopussies change color?

Yes, octopuses are renowned for their ability to change color, making them masters of camouflage and communication. This remarkable feat is achieved through a sophisticated network of specialized skin cells and neural control. Chromatophores, pigment-filled sacs embedded in the octopus’s skin, can expand or contract, revealing or concealing vibrant colors. These chromatophores are further enhanced by reflective cells called iridophores, which produce shimmering iridescent hues. Additional white pigment cells, known as leucophores, contribute to brightness and contrast, while tiny bumps on the skin, called papillae, can be raised or flattened to alter the texture for even better camouflage.

The octopus’s intricate nervous system orchestrates this symphony of color change. Their brains process visual information from the environment and send signals to the muscles controlling the chromatophores, iridophores, and papillae, allowing them to seamlessly blend in with their surroundings in a matter of milliseconds. This dynamic coloration is not only a survival mechanism for evading predators and ambushing prey, but also a means of communication, signaling emotions and intentions to other octopuses.

F/U Question: Could an octopus turn itself pink, the most gorgeous color in our color spectrum?

Yes, absolutely! Many species of octopuses can turn themselves pink. They have specialized pigment-containing cells called chromatophores in their skin, which allow them to change their coloration rapidly. By controlling the expansion and contraction of these cells, octopuses can produce a wide range of colors and patterns, including pink.

The specific shade and intensity of pink can vary depending on the species of octopus, its emotional state, and the environment it is trying to blend into.


How do Octopussies Eat? What do they eat?

Octopuses are fascinating creatures, and their eating habits are no exception. These intelligent cephalopods are carnivorous predators, employing a variety of strategies and tools to capture and consume their prey.

Their diet varies depending on their species and habitat, but it generally consists of crustaceans (like crabs, shrimp, and lobsters), bivalves (such as clams and mussels), fish, and even other cephalopods. Some octopuses are known to be opportunistic feeders, consuming whatever prey is available, while others have more specialized diets.

To capture their food, octopuses use their eight arms, which are lined with powerful suckers, to grasp and manipulate their prey. They also have a sharp beak located at the center of their arms, which they use to pierce and tear flesh. Some species, like the blue-ringed octopus, possess venomous saliva that paralyzes their prey.

Octopuses are known for their intelligence and problem-solving skills, which they also apply to their feeding habits. They can open shells, navigate mazes, and even use tools to access food. For example, the veined octopus has been observed carrying coconut shells to use as portable shelters.

Once the prey is captured, the octopus typically brings it to its mouth, located at the base of its arms. It then uses its beak to break down the food into smaller pieces, which are then further processed by its radula, a tongue-like organ with rows of teeth.

The octopus’s unique anatomy and feeding habits demonstrate its remarkable adaptability and intelligence, making it one of the most fascinating creatures in the animal kingdom.


Do octopussies make friends with other species, or are they mean bustards that other sea creatures stay away from?

While octopuses are often depicted as solitary creatures, their social interactions are more nuanced than previously thought. Though not forming traditional friendships as humans do, octopuses engage in complex interactions with other species, ranging from cooperative hunting to curious encounters.

Some species, like the day octopus, have been observed hunting cooperatively with certain fish species, utilizing their intelligence and agility to corner prey. This mutually beneficial behavior showcases their ability to collaborate for shared goals. However, this doesn’t necessarily equate to friendship in the human sense.

In general, octopuses are not inherently aggressive towards other sea creatures, but they are opportunistic predators. They will readily hunt and consume other animals for sustenance. This predatory nature might make them seem like “mean bustards” to their prey, but it’s a natural part of the marine ecosystem.

However, there have been anecdotal observations of octopuses showing curiosity and even playful interactions with divers and researchers, suggesting a capacity for recognizing individuals and engaging in non-predatory encounters. While it’s difficult to ascertain the emotional motivations behind these behaviors, they challenge the notion of octopuses as purely solitary and anti-social creatures.

Ultimately, octopuses are complex beings with diverse social interactions. While they are primarily solitary hunters, they are also capable of cooperative behaviors and curious encounters with other species. Whether these interactions can be considered friendships is a matter of interpretation, but they certainly reveal a more nuanced social landscape for these intelligent creatures.


How do Octopussies um…Get it on?

Octopus mating rituals are as unique and fascinating as the creatures themselves. The male octopus possesses a specialized arm called the hectocotylus, which is used to transfer sperm packets, or spermatophores, to the female. In most species, the male inserts this arm into the female’s mantle cavity, where the spermatophores are deposited. However, there are variations in this process among different species. Some males detach their hectocotylus, allowing it to swim independently towards the female. Others engage in elaborate courtship displays involving color changes and tactile interactions.

The female octopus can store the spermatophores for extended periods until she is ready to fertilize her eggs. Once fertilized, the female meticulously cares for her eggs, often attaching them to a secluded surface and diligently guarding them from predators. This maternal care can be incredibly demanding, with some species foregoing food and sacrificing their own well-being to ensure the survival of their offspring.

After the eggs hatch, the mother octopus typically dies, having fulfilled her reproductive duty. The young octopuses, known as paralarvae, embark on their independent lives, drifting with ocean currents and facing the challenges of survival in the vast marine environment.

Octopus mating is a complex and intriguing phenomenon, showcasing the remarkable adaptations and diverse reproductive strategies these intelligent creatures have evolved. The dedication of mother octopuses to their offspring is a testament to the strength of the maternal instinct in the animal kingdom. While the details of the mating process may vary between species, the underlying goal remains the same: to ensure the continuation of their lineage and the survival of future generations.


If an Octopussy’s tenticle gets cut off, will it grow back?

The regenerative abilities of octopuses are truly remarkable, extending to their tentacles, which are vital for their survival. If an octopus loses a tentacle, whether due to predation, injury, or even self-defense mechanisms like autotomy (intentional detachment), it possesses the extraordinary capacity to regrow the missing appendage. This process, known as regeneration, is a testament to the octopus’s biological resilience.

The regeneration of a tentacle is not merely a matter of replacing lost tissue; it involves the intricate reconstruction of muscles, nerves, suckers, and even the complex network of neurons that gives the octopus its exceptional dexterity and sensory perception. This regeneration process begins with the formation of a blastema, a mass of undifferentiated cells that gradually develops into a new tentacle, complete with all its functional components.

The time it takes for a tentacle to fully regenerate can vary depending on the species, the age of the octopus, and environmental factors. However, it is typically a gradual process that can take weeks or even months. During this time, the octopus can still function with its remaining tentacles, adapting to the temporary loss and continuing to hunt, explore, and interact with its environment.

The ability to regenerate tentacles is not only crucial for the octopus’s survival but also provides insights into the mechanisms of tissue regeneration and could potentially inform research on regenerative medicine in humans. By studying the octopus’s remarkable regenerative abilities, scientists hope to unlock the secrets of tissue repair and restoration, paving the way for potential breakthroughs in treating injuries and diseases.


Are octopussies aliens from outer space that got lost and now have no way to leave Earth?

The idea of octopuses being extraterrestrial beings lost on Earth is a captivating notion, fueled by their extraordinary intelligence, unique physiology, and seemingly otherworldly appearance. However, there is no scientific evidence to support this claim. While octopuses possess remarkable abilities, such as camouflage, problem-solving skills, and complex nervous systems, these traits can be explained through evolutionary adaptation to their marine environment.

The hypothesis of octopuses originating from outer space is rooted in a controversial 2018 scientific paper that suggested the possibility of cephalopod eggs arriving on Earth via icy comets. This theory has been widely criticized by the scientific community due to a lack of concrete evidence and the plausibility of such an event.

While the idea of extraterrestrial octopuses remains firmly in the realm of science fiction, it sparks curiosity and wonder about the vast diversity of life on Earth and the potential for life beyond our planet. The unique biology and intelligence of octopuses serve as a reminder of the incredible adaptations that can arise through evolution and the mysteries that remain to be uncovered in the depths of our oceans.

F/U Question: So, if they are aliens, what do you think their home planet would look like?

If we were to indulge in the hypothetical scenario of octopuses being extraterrestrial beings, their home planet would likely be a fascinating and bizarre world, vastly different from Earth. Here are some speculative features of such a planet:

  1. Predominantly Aquatic: Given the octopus’s aquatic nature, their home planet would likely be covered mostly in water, with vast oceans, interconnected seas, and intricate underwater cave systems. Landmasses, if any, would be scattered islands or archipelagos.

  2. Varied Depths and Temperatures: The oceans would encompass a wide range of depths, from shallow, sunlit zones to abyssal plains shrouded in darkness. This would provide diverse habitats for different octopus species adapted to varying pressure and light conditions.

  3. Complex Coral Reefs: The underwater landscape would be adorned with intricate and vibrant coral reef systems, teeming with diverse life forms. These reefs would serve as crucial ecosystems, providing food and shelter for octopuses and other marine creatures.

  4. Bioluminescent Flora and Fauna: In the depths where sunlight doesn’t reach, bioluminescent organisms would illuminate the darkness, creating a mesmerizing spectacle of glowing creatures and plants. Octopuses would likely have evolved to utilize bioluminescence for communication, camouflage, and attracting prey.

  5. High Atmospheric Pressure: The planet’s atmosphere might be denser than Earth’s, leading to higher atmospheric pressure. This would explain the octopus’s ability to withstand extreme pressure in the deep oceans of Earth.

  6. Diverse Gravity: The planet might have varying gravitational forces in different regions, influencing the octopus’s body structure and locomotion. Some areas might have lower gravity, allowing octopuses to move more easily and even “fly” through the water using their jet propulsion.

  7. Intelligent Civilization: Given their intelligence, it’s possible that octopuses evolved into a complex civilization on their home planet. This civilization might be based on cooperation, communication through changing colors and patterns, and advanced problem-solving skills.

  8. Advanced Technology: An advanced octopus civilization might have developed technology based on manipulating water pressure, utilizing bioelectricity, and harnessing the power of bioluminescence. Their architecture might be fluid and adaptable, resembling organic structures integrated with the environment.

It’s important to remember that this is purely speculative and based on our limited understanding of octopuses and the vast possibilities of life in the universe. However, imagining such a world allows us to expand our creativity and explore the potential diversity of extraterrestrial life.


Do octopuses have bones?

Octopuses, despite their remarkable strength and agility, are invertebrates, meaning they lack a backbone or internal skeleton composed of bones. Instead, they possess a unique and fascinating skeletal structure known as a hydrostatic skeleton. This type of skeleton relies on the incompressible nature of water to provide support and maintain shape.

The octopus’s body is essentially a muscular sac filled with fluid. By contracting and relaxing specific muscle groups, they can manipulate the pressure and distribution of this fluid, enabling them to move, change shape, and squeeze through incredibly tight spaces. This flexibility is a key factor in their remarkable ability to camouflage themselves and navigate complex environments.

While octopuses lack bones, they do have a few hard structures in their bodies. The most notable is their beak, a sharp, chitinous structure used for tearing and consuming prey. Additionally, some species of octopus have small internal shells called stylets or gladii, which provide additional support for their bodies.

The absence of bones is a crucial aspect of the octopus’s evolutionary success. It allows them unparalleled flexibility and adaptability, enabling them to thrive in diverse marine habitats and become one of the most intelligent and fascinating creatures in the animal kingdom. Their unique physiology serves as a reminder of the remarkable diversity of life on Earth and the endless possibilities of adaptation and evolution.

So, there you have it. All the important questions about octopussies have been answered, and no further research is needed. You’re very welcome.

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How many species of octopuses are there?