These vibrantly colored octopuses hold the title of being the smartest of all invertebrates. They are unique in the sense that they can change the color and texture of their body to blend into their surroundings. This not only helps them to evade their predators but also to search for their prey sneakily. Thankfully, they are not a threatened species as of now, even though, humans have been hunting them for food since forever. However, experts have stated a concern as their existence is directly tied to the existence of coral reefs and as the latter continues to be endangered, the existence of this beautiful octopus can become questionable too. Any living organism plays a direct part in the well-being of others, and if the existence of one is threatened, others might have to face the consequences presented by the ecosystem as well. This is why it is important to keep their numbers stable before it is too late. Read on to learn more interesting facts about this marine creature.
As evident by their names, the Caribbean reef octopus is a type of octopus that is found around the Caribbean range of the Atlantic Ocean. They are known as the most intelligent of all invertebrates with an ability to merge into their surroundings that can fool anyone.
Like all octopuses, the Caribbean reef octopuses are Cephalopods. They can change not only the color pattern of their body but also the texture. This helps them fool their natural predators by blending into the coral reefs where they are commonly found while providing them with a unique trait.
It is hard to say just how many Caribbean reef octopuses are there in the world, but as they are not enlisted in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals, it is safe to assume that they are not facing the threat of extinction any time soon. This species of octopuses is unique because they can change the color of their body to blend into their surroundings and the texture of their body.
They are found around the shallow waters of the neotropical region of the world. Namely, in the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico, Florida, the Bahamas, and throughout the western part of the Atlantic Ocean as well as in the Pacific Ocean.
They are shy creatures living in the shallow waters of the neotropical region. They are found around the coral reefs making dens for themselves in the crevices which they are very territorial about.
Caribbean reef octopuses are known to mostly live alone and only interact with others during the mating season. They are extremely solitary and defend their dens fiercely, even going as far as killing and eating other octopuses that drift too close to their territory. There are known to spend most of their lives in a single den and only change it if they are threatened by intruders they cannot fight off. They are shy creatures and almost always return to their dens after catching their prey.
The Caribbean octopus is known to live for about 10-12 months in the wild, and about 10-17 months when in captivity. However, their lifespan can be cut short in captivity by various diseases. The males often die after giving their hectocotylus to the females for mating purposes, while the females tend to die after they lay eggs and make sure that they are in a safe place to hatch when the time comes.
They are monogamous and only mate once in their lives. These marine octopuses have two known ways of mating. Either the male octopuses mate with the female and release the sperm inside their body to fertilize the eggs, or they give their hectocotylus to the females and the females store it inside their mantle until the eggs are ready to be fertilized and then extract the sperm from their mantle. These octopuses lay about 300-500 eggs per pregnancy. The male octopuses usually die a few months after they give their hectocotylus to the female, while the female generally dies after laying eggs and making sure that they are in a safe place until the eggs hatch.
The Caribbean reef octopus is not listed in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Animal Species, so it is safe to assume that their population is stable enough in their natural habitat. However, humans have been hunting these beautiful marine creatures for a long time, which has somewhat decreased their population. Sharks and stingrays are known to prey on them and that is another reason why their population is declining in some places.
This species of marine octopuses are a vibrant blue-green in color with brown and red spots peppered through their bodies. They are known to have a special type of cell in their bodies called chromatophores that help them to blend into their surroundings while successfully fooling their predators. This reef octopus is known to have eight long legs, or tentacles, of different sizes, and a mantle that is large with dark-colored eyes. The longest pair of legs, namely the second and the third one is known for growing almost five times bigger than the size of the mantle. All legs come with suckers divided into two rows that help these creatures catch their prey. Their teeth are divided into seven rows. Interestingly, the young of these animals look like miniature versions of the adults.
More than cute, this creature is quite exotic-looking with its iridescent aquamarine color and chunky-looking mantle. Their unique ability to change colors comes with a wide range, they can go from crimson red to green in no time at all.
Octopuses are extremely smart animals, in fact, the smartest among all invertebrates in the ocean ecology. They have particular organisms that help them to use vocalizations that are only comprehensible to their own species. They also use the chromatophores and iridocytes in their skin to change the pattern of colors and reflect light off their skin to communicate among their own kind. These blue-green predators are also known to use sound to locate their prey.
The octopus briareus is one of the smaller species of octopus in appearance, and their range length is only about 2.13-4.72 in (5.4-12 cm), which is about the same size as a rose tarantula.
It is hard to say just how fast this blue-green marine octopus can move, but, as octopuses, in general, are known for being fast swimmers with a top speed of 25 mph, it is possibly safe to assume that the Octopus briareus can also move quite fast.
This species of reef octopus is not known for particularly heavy given their small bodies. On average, they only weigh about 2.2-3.3 lb (1-1.5 kg).
Octopuses, in general, do not have sex-specific names for males or females.
Like all other species of octopus, the babies of octopus briareus are called larvae. The babies of this marine creature are born looking like a miniature version of the adults, and they drift around the coral reefs in search of prey.
The octopus briareus is known to be a nocturnal species that searches for its food during the night. This helps them to stay away from their predators, and also helps them in hunting for their food. Their primary food habit consists of shrimp, spiny lobsters, crabs, and small fish. However, Caribbean reef octopuses have been known to indulge in cannibalism as well, that is, they are known to eat members of their own species. Their teeth and suckers are divided into seven and two rows respectively which helps them to catch their prey. These marine creatures are known to often surprise their prey by launching themselves over coral reefs, while sometimes this predator is known to stalk its prey from behind and wrap its front tentacles around the prey to capture it. The amount of food they take in completely depends on the sources of food available as well as on the temperature of the water. The female reef octopus decreases the food amount it eats by almost 50% about two weeks before laying eggs.
Although a study says that all octopuses are poisonous, the octopus briareus is not known for its particularly high venom flow. However, this predator is the smartest of all invertebrates in the ocean ecology, so, they are more than equipped to fight off potential threats. They are known to discharge a kind of ink cloud as a deterrent to their predators which tastes extremely bad and is enough to throw the predator off course for a short time.
Octopuses in general make appealing pets, and this reef octopus is no different. With their vibrant appearance and beautiful tentacles, they can add glamour to your aquarium. You should only keep in mind that the tank size should be around 50-75 gallons and the temperature should be around 72°-78° F (22-25 C). They also have a knack for escaping so a solid roof would be helpful. Feeding them is also quite easy as even the larvae are pretty well developed and can consume crustaceans from the beginning. Other than that, you can decorate the tank with coral reefs to make them more comfortable in their surroundings.
Kidadl Advisory: All pets should only be bought from a reputable source. It is recommended that as a potential pet owner you carry out your own research prior to deciding on your pet of choice. Being a pet owner is very rewarding but it also involves commitment, time and money. Ensure that your pet choice complies with the legislation in your state and/or country. You must never take animals from the wild or disturb their habitat. Please check that the pet you are considering buying is not an endangered species, or listed on the CITES list, and has not been taken from the wild for the pet trade.
Caribbean reef octopuses are the smartest among all invertebrates in the ocean ecology.
They have specialized skin cells called chromatophores that enable them to change the color and texture of their body. In fact, the range of colors is so varied they can change from crimson red to blue-green in no time at all.
These octopuses are not endangered as of now. However, experts have stated a concern regarding their future as their existence is directly tied to the existence of coral reefs and as they continue to be endangered, there is a chance that this species of octopuses will be threatened as well due to the destruction of their habitat.
These octopuses do not live long, only about 10-12 months in the wild and about 10-17 months in captivity. They only mate once in their lives, and the males tend to die after a few months of giving their hectocotylus to the females while the females are prone to die after laying eggs and making sure that they are safe enough to hatch on their own. An octopus from the deep part of the sea, Graneledone boreopacifica, is known to live the longest among all types of octopus, with a lifespan of about 53 months which is a record of its own.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other cephalopods including giant Pacific octopus facts and coconut octopus facts.
You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable caribbean reef octopus coloring pages.