Octopus Facts: Things About The Eight Limbed Aquatic Organism

Sridevi Tolety
Nov 21, 2022 By Sridevi Tolety
Originally Published on Mar 18, 2022
Edited by Naomi Carr
Fact-checked by Shreya Yadav
All octopus species produce venom with varying toxicity levels, which they inject using a beak resembling a bird's. Find out more octopus facts here.

The octopus is an eight-limbed, softer-bodied mollusc belonging to the order Octopoda.

As with other cephalopods, octopuses are bilaterally symmetrical. They have two eyes, one on each side, and a beaked mouth at the center of their eight arms.

Octopus arms are built with suction cups called suckers. Octopuses inhabit many ocean areas, including pelagic waters, coral reefs, and the seabed; some live in the intertidal zone, while others live at extreme depths. A majority of species have short life spans, grow rapidly, and mature early.


The octopus is an invertebrate that lives in the ocean. It has a large head, big eyes, and eight long arms covered with suckers. The tentacles, or arms, of these soft-bodied octopuses are vulnerable to damage since they have no bones. If they lose a tentacle or damage it, the regrowth process starts immediately.

There are 300 species of octopus, which includes the common octopus, the mimic octopus, the blue-ringed sea octopus, and the giant Pacific octopus. They use their arms to catch prey, maneuver around the bottom of the ocean, and propel themselves through the water.

Of these 300 species, almost all shallow-water finless octopi. A few species belong to the deeper-water finned octopus category, which has large fins on their heads. This octopus species is nicknamed 'Dumbo octopus' because its fins look like elephant ears.

Different species of octopuses inhabit different types of marine habitats. As juveniles, common octopuses live in shallow tide pools. Hawaiian day octopuses are found on coral reefs, and argonauts are found in the pelagic waters.

Abdopus aculeatus lives primarily in near-shore seagrass beds. Several species of marine animals are adapted to the depths of the ocean's cold.

Many cirrate species are free-swimmers and live in deep-water habitats. A variety of octopus species live in bathyal and abyssal depths, but only one is known to live in the hadal zone: the Dumbo octopus of the genus Grimpoteuthis. There are no species that live in freshwater.

Behavior And Nature

As an octopus swims, the organ that delivers blood to its other organs stops beating, causing it to get tired, which is likely one of the reasons they prefer to crawl rather than swim.

Octopuses tend to wander lazily with their arms within reach of the ocean bottom when they are not in a rush. When they feel their urgency, they swim actively by flexing their arms and bodies. To escape as quickly as possible, they often shoot a jet of water out of a body cavity while spraying ink.

Octopuses emit a cloud of black ink when threatened, as do many other cephalopods. The ink consists primarily of melanin, which darkens the skin of many animals and humans. When they are in danger and want to escape their predators, they squirt ink.

Octopuses are among the most intelligent and behaviorally diverse creatures, with a complex nervous system and excellent sight. Octopuses are one of the most intelligent and interesting sea creatures able to thrive in the dangerous depths of the ocean, with a plethora of unique methods of surviving.

Most octopuses use dens to hide; they are commonly found in crevices within rocky outcrops and other hard structures, though some species also like to burrow into mud or sand.

When in search of food, octopuses sometimes leave their home range, but in general, they tend to stay in a home range and navigate back to a den without needing to retrace their steps.

An octopus brings captured prey to its den, where it can eat without danger of being attacked.

Reproduction And Offspring

The octopus is a semelparous animal, which means it only reproduces once, then dies.

The life expectancy of an octopus is short. Some species live as little as six months, while others, like the North Pacific giant octopus, can live up to five years. Generally, the larger the octopus, the longer its life span is.

Octopuses do not give birth to live babies; instead, they lay thousands of eggs. As the eggs hatch, they are braided into little clusters and watched over for several months. This process could take up to a year, depending on the season and temperature.

Pacific octopi can deliver more than 50,000 babies simultaneously and spend months protecting their eggs.

Types Of Octopus

Over 300 species of octopus have been identified so far, with more being found every year. Even the most dedicated octopus researcher won't be familiar with them all. Listed below are a few of them.

Common Octopus: A common octopus is a mollusk with eight limbs and is the species that have been studied the most, probably because it is the most widely distributed octopus species. From the eastern Atlantic to the southern coast of South Africa, you can find the common octopus in the shallows of tropical and subtropical waters.

Coconut Octopus: The coconut octopus gets its name from the way it lives; it gathers coconut shells from the tree-lined beaches of the Pacific coast, so it can live in them. The creature carries treasures from one place to another, holding them in six 'arms' while walking on two 'legs' on the ocean floor.

Giant Pacific Octopus: Giant Pacific octopuses can weigh as much as 110 pounds (50 kg) and grow up to 16 feet long (4.9 m), making them the largest octopus species in the world.

As with many cephalopods, it can change color, but the Giant Pacific octopus does so with particular flair, blending in with its surroundings or warding off predators with its mutable coloration.

The species can be found up to 6,600 feet (2,01,168 cm) below the ocean surface, where it hunts fish, crustaceans, and other octopuses.

The Mimic Octopus: The mimic octopus is an incredibly rare octopus that has the ability to blend in with its environment better than any other octopus. It has brown and white stripes that cover its entire body.

They utilize colors and patterns to enlarge their arms and transform their bodies into the appearance of other dangerous marine animals. With this skill, they can avoid being attacked by predators.

The Flapjack Octopus: There are fourteen octopuses similar to umbrella octopuses. These belong to the genus Opisthoteuthidae and are identified by the webbing between each of their arms, which causes them to swim in an umbrella shape.

The flapjack octopus is an umbrella octopus.

If they are settled, they look like a deep red blob of jelly because of their webbing and short legs. This is a Cirrina octopus with fins above its eyes that lives off the coasts of Japan and California at depths between 1,100 feet (335.3 m) and 5,000 feet (1,524 m).

Star-Sucker Pygmy Octopus: The star-sucker octopus is one of the smallest octopuses scientists have found so far. It weighs between 0.5 oz (14.2 g) and one ounce (28.3 g) at full maturity, and its body measures between two and three inches (5.08 to 7.6 cm).

Originally found in 1913, these little octopuses are found in the Western Pacific Ocean. They tend to be sandy orange with tiny suckers on their arms.

The star-sucker octopus prefers to live in shallow waters, where it hunts around for mollusks and crustaceans. It can live from 2 feet (0.6 m) to 27 feet (8.2 m) deep.

The octopus is a mysterious creature and one of the world's smartest animals. It can use its vision and camouflage skills to hunt and hide, and its arms to explore, taste, and touch its surroundings to grab every bit of food it can.

Octopuses are thoughtful hunters who have even sometimes been known to work with other species to capture hidden prey.


How many hearts does an octopus have?

An octopus has three hearts; two pump blood to the gills, and the third circulates blood throughout the body.

What does an octopus eat?

Young octopuses consume small foods like larval crabs, sea stars, and copepods. The adult octopus eats clams, crabs, small fishes, snails, and other octopuses.

How many brains does an octopus have?

It has nine brains, along with the central brain; eight of its arms have mini-brains that enable them to act independently.

What color is octopus blood?

Octopus blood is blue.

How many tentacles does an octopus have?

There are eight tentacles on an octopus.

What does octopus taste like?

When cooked, octopus has a mild, subtle flavor similar to calamari or squid. It does not taste like fish and does not have a seaside flavor.

What color are octopuses?

To blend in with its surroundings, an octopus can change colors to brown, gray, blue, pink, or green. It is also possible for octopuses to change color when communicating with one another.

What is the difference between a squid and an octopus?

There are eight arms on an octopus body, along with a round head and a mantle. These arms are covered with one or two rows of suckers, but they do not have hooks or rings for suckers.

The squid has a triangular-shaped head, eight arms, and a mantle. However, unlike an octopus, they also have two tentacles and two fins on their head.

What is the lifespan of an octopus?

Octopuses have a lifespan of three to five years.

How do octopuses change color?

Chromatophores are thousands of cells just below the surface of the skin of an octopus. In each of these cells, there is a tiny sac filled with a pigment, such as red, orange, brown, yellow, or black, and by stretching or squeezing the sacs, the bright colors of each of them can be changed rapidly.

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Written by Sridevi Tolety

Bachelor of Science specializing in Botany, Master of Science specializing in Clinical Research and Regulatory Affairs

Sridevi Tolety picture

Sridevi ToletyBachelor of Science specializing in Botany, Master of Science specializing in Clinical Research and Regulatory Affairs

With a Master's degree in clinical research from Manipal University and a PG Diploma in journalism from Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Sridevi has cultivated her passion for writing across various domains. She has authored a wide range of articles, blogs, travelogues, creative content, and short stories that have been published in leading magazines, newspapers, and websites. Sridevi is fluent in four languages and enjoys spending her spare time with loved ones. Her hobbies include reading, traveling, cooking, painting, and listening to music.

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Fact-checked by Shreya Yadav

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Psychology

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Shreya YadavBachelor of Arts specializing in Psychology

Shreya has developed a diverse set of skills through her experience in client servicing, email marketing, content and e-commerce management, digital marketing, and creative content writing. Her educational background includes a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Indira Gandhi National Open University, Delhi. Shreya's passion for ongoing learning and development is a testament to her commitment to excellence.

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