Octopus (animal) – Information, reproduction and characteristics

We explain what the octopus is, its habitat, food, reproduction and other characteristics. Also, how long do they live.

Octopuses are underwater cephalopod mollusks.

What is an octopus?

An entire order is known by the name of octopus (octopod) of underwater cephalopod molluscs, that is, to a set of soft-bodied animals, endowed with eight agile limbs with suction cups on their inner face. It is one of the most intelligent and diverse-behaved invertebrates known in the world.

With its ductile body and its ability to change colors and simulate textures, the octopus is one of the marine animals that has most fascinated humans since ancient times. It is an animal known throughout the world, part of numerous gastronomic traditions, such as the Mediterranean or Asian, and that appears in maritime representations of antiquity, often in gigantic and terrible dimensions (the kraken).

The oldest fossils of octopuses that have been found date from the Carboniferous, around 300 million years ago, and are distinguished from some close relatives, such as the extinct ammonites, in that they lack a calcareous shell. Currently, within the order octopod about 300 known species are classified, divided into two suborders:

  • Incirrine: Species lacking swim fins.
  • Cirrine: Species that lack suckers on their appendages.

Characteristics of octopuses

octopus tentacles
Octopuses have a soft and ductile body, capable of lengthening and contracting.

Octopuses, in general, are characterized by the following:

  • These are mollusks without a shell, that is to say, of a soft and ductile body, capable of lengthening, contracting and even slipping through tiny spaces.
  • Their bodies have bilateral symmetry and they consist of a head, where are the eyes, gills and the siphon that allows breathing and rapid movement, as well as a mouth in the form of a rigid beak, around which there are eight appendages: six “arms” and two “feet”. The inner face of these appendages is usually covered with circular suction cups.
  • In your body has an ink tank, which many species can expel as a defense mechanism, leading to a rapid escape.
  • Another fundamental feature is that your skin has numerous pigment cells, which allow abrupt and sudden changes in coloration, being able to camouflage itself in the environment almost perfectly.
  • The eyes of the octopus are among the most developed of all invertebrates, as well as a closed circulatory system, with three hearts, and a complex nervous system that goes beyond the brain, as it has neurons in the animal’s own appendages.
  • These are intelligent animals, capable of solving simple problems and planning hunting strategies, since their habits are essentially predatory. At the same time, the octopus is part of the food of many larger predators, such as certain types of sharks.
  • They are solitary animals, who socialize little or nothing outside of reproduction and never form colonies.

Where do octopuses live?

colored octopus
Octopuses make their lair in crevices, outcrops, or simple underwater mud.

The octopuses are present in all oceans, adapted to their environment in a multiplicity of different species. They usually make their lair in crevices, outcrops, or simple underwater mud. They are not particularly territorial animals, although they tend to handle themselves in a specific area, leaving it only to eat.

What do octopuses eat?

camouflage octopus
Octopuses use their cloaking strategies to ambush their prey.

The octopuses they are essentially predators, and their favorite prey are small crustaceans, fish, worms, and other mollusks or crabs. Some species may supplement their diet with algae and similar vegetables, but this is very rare. Typically, they use their superb vision and cloaking strategies to ambush their prey, which they then quietly devour in their lair.

How do octopuses reproduce?

octopus reproduction
Tiny hatchlings known as paralarvae hatch from the octopus’s eggs.

The reproduction of the octopus has been little studied. It is known to occur in sexual terms and in a promiscuous way: males, smaller than females, have an adapted arm with reproductive functions, with which they deposit their spermatophores, structures that will later release the sperm.

The female can then store the cells of the male and then fertilize the eggs. as you deposit them. Tiny offspring known as paralarvae hatch from these eggs, after their mother cares for them and keeps them clean for a variable period of time, which can reach 10 months.

Mothers usually do not feed during this period, so that at the end they are often too weak to go on with their lives, with their death occurring within a few weeks. Males also experience rapid senescence after reproduction and die shortly thereafter.

How long do octopuses live?

The life expectancy of the average octopus is short. Some small species can last as little as 6 months of lifeWhile the giant North Pacific octopus is capable of living for about 5 years. Nevertheless, playback always marks the end point of the life span of individuals of the species: males die shortly after mating and females shortly after their eggs hatch.