Amazing octopus facts: 9 brains, 3 hearts

By Eudore R. Chand

Dauz Giant Pacific Octopus

DUBAI 12 October 2019: Every year from the October 8-12, International Cephalopod Awareness Days come around to teach the world about cephalopods. This event is all about celebrating and sharing how fascinating and incredible they are!

Learn about one of the coolest creatures – the Giant Pacific Octopus, as Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo celebrates International Cephalopod Awareness Days from October 8-12. Each day will feature an educator presentation and octopus feeding.

Cephalopods, including the well-known octopus, cuttlefish, squid and nautilus, inhabit all of the world’s oceans and can be traced back almost 500 million years. There are over 700 living species that belong to the class Cephalopoda (a name derived from Greek meaning “head-footed”). The general build of these animals includes a head, which contains all of the cephalopod’s organs, and the foot, which can consist of many appendages. At its center, the cephalopod has a sharp beak made of keratin (the same material that makes up our hair/fingernails)!

Cephalopods are highly-intelligent creatures. In fact, they have the biggest brains of any invertebrate (octopuses have 9 brains, 1 in each of their 8 arms and 1 in their head!). Their cunning nature and ability to disguise themselves perfectly against almost any background make them worthy predators. Cephalopods can change the colour of their skin thanks to their chromatophores, special pigment-filled cells that come in a range of colors. The pigments can be black, brown, red, orange, or yellow. These cells are each independently controlled by nerves and muscles, which expand or contract the cell. When the muscles contract, the cell stretches, allowing the pigment to cover a larger area. When the chromatophore shrinks, the pigment is hidden.

10 Amazing Octopus Facts

  1. Sometimes Octopus, Squid and Cuttlefish are called “Inkfish” because they squirt ink when they feel threatened. The ink contains a substance that dulls a predator’s sense of smell.
  2. Cephalopods can change their colors and patterns in milliseconds as means of communication, mood changes, courtship display and camouflage.
  3. Cephalopods have blue blood. Their blood is high in copper instead of iron.
  4. Cephalopods have three hearts. Two pump blood through each of the two gills, while the third pumps blood through the body.
  5. The Giant Pacific Octopus is the largest of all Octopus species, growing to more than 50 kgs and have an arm span of 6 meters.
  6. An Octopus has 9 brains, 1 in each of their 8 arms and 1 in their head.
  7. Octopuses are ranked as the most intelligent invertebrates. They can solve simple puzzles, open childproof bottles and use tools.
  8. Since octopuses have no bones in their bodies, they can squeeze through the tiniest of cracks, making them masterful escape artists.
  9. The Giant Pacific Octopus can only live for about 5 years.
  10. Octopuses can regrow a lost arm.
Dubai Gazette