Fun Coconut Octopus Facts For Kids

Fun Coconut Octopus Facts For Kids

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A coconut octopus, also known as Amphioctopus marginatus, is an interesting animal that can be found in the tropical waters on our planet. Octopuses are soft-bodied cephalopods with eight arms and a bulbous head. These intelligent animals can camouflage to their surroundings by changing their body color and even texture. When not in a camouflaged state, a coconut octopus is reddish-brown with white suction pads and a yellow siphon.

Coconut octopuses were known to everyone as a veined octopus because of the veins in their main body but a recent research expedition in North Sulawesi and Bali in 2009 revealed some interesting facts after a closer observation of this particular species. These octopuses, like chimps, were seen to use rudimentary tools such as coconut shells lying on the sea floor as shields and also as a shelter to live in.

Another interesting trait of this species is that they walk on two limbs while carrying coconut shells and carry empty clam shells with their other arms. Bipedal locomotion is not a common characteristic among invertebrates. This species is an exception even among octopi.

Read this article to know more interesting facts about a coconut octopus. You may find our articles on blue-ringed octopus and mimic octopus exciting to read! 

Coconut Octopus Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a coconut octopus?

A coconut octopus is a type of medium-sized octopus that inhabits the sandy and muddy seabeds of the western Pacific.

What class of animal does a coconut octopus belong to?

Amphioctopus marginatus, known as a coconut octopus, belongs to the class of cephalopods. Cephalopoda is one of the most complex classes in terms of behavior and morphology in the Mollusca phylum. The literal meaning of the word 'cephalopoda' is 'head-foot' and these animals possess the most complex brains among all invertebrates.

How many coconut octopuses are there in the world?

The exact number of coconut octopuses is not known. However, this species is not critically endangered.

Where does a coconut octopus live?

A coconut octopus lives in the tropical waters of the western Pacific and the Indian Ocean. Its indigenous range extends from southern Japan to Australia, and New Guinea. Coconut octopuses are also seen in South Africa.

What is a coconut octopus's habitat?

A coconut octopus falls into the category of tropical water species. Shallow coastal water is their habitat of choice and they spend most of their time on muddy or sandy sea floors near the shoreline. A preference for calm water as a habitat is also displayed by this species. A coconut octopus is often found in lagoons, bays and other inlets. Sometimes their habitat includes deeper waters up to a depth of 600 ft (183 m). A coconut octopus sometimes finds shelter inside empty coconut shells, clam shells or stays buried in the sand with only its eyes visible.

Who do coconut octopuses live with?

A coconut octopus or veined octopus usually lives in solitude throughout its life except during the mating period.

How long does a coconut octopus live?

A coconut octopus has a longer lifespan than other smaller octopus species. A coconut octopus lives for three to five years. Males die within weeks, if not days. However, females live for months or years. They die generally after the hatching of their eggs as they abstain from eating during the entire brooding period.

How do they reproduce?

A coconut octopus attains sexual maturity at the age of one to two years. In warm water, the spermatophore is injected from one of the tentacles of a male to the mantle portion of a female. Mating activity is rapid mainly because a female octopus is prone to devour a male. Male coconut octopuses sometimes disguise themselves as females to save their lives.

A female octopus lays approximately 100,000 eggs after 11 months. The size of each of the eggs is less than 0.2 in (6 mm). The eggs are protected in a safe corner or crevice and a female coconut octopus looks after them until they hatch.

What is their conservation status?

IUCN has not evaluated the conservation status of a coconut octopus. Predators like great white sharks, viper fish and bigger octopuses hunt them in the sea. Seafood lovers also enjoy eating coconut octopus like other shell fish.

Coconut Octopus Fun Facts

What do coconut octopuses look like?

The body of a coconut octopus is reddish-brown with veins running across its body. They have a yellow siphon utilized both for locomotion and for respiration purposes. Their tentacles are white and blue and the edges of their arms have a dark tinge. A white shade is visible under their eyes in a trapezoid-shaped area. These octopuses can blend in with their surroundings using camouflage techniques.

A coconut octopus' shell is extremely beautiful.

How cute are they?

There can be differences of opinion regarding the cuteness of an octopus. A coconut octopus or a veined octopus can appear gross to some because of its tentacles. However, some people consider them adorable and a bit naughty as well.

How do they communicate?

A coconut octopus, or Amphioctopus marginatus, is a solitary creature that lies on its own on the bottom of the sea using a shell as a protective cover. Octopuses are rarely seen in contact with others of their kind except for mating. They use their eight arms to communicate and their body color may change during this interaction. Coconut octopuses sometimes interact with divers by latching on to them and testing their tools. They are often seen taking colorful plastic items from divers especially ones that resemble a shell.

How big is a coconut octopus?

A coconut octopus is approximately 3 in (8 cm) long if we consider just its main body. Their length can go up to 6 in (15 cm) if you include their tentacles. They fall into the category of medium sized octopuses.

How fast can coconut octopuses move?

A coconut octopus or veined octopus moves slowly as it carries coconut shells and clam shells with it for protection from other predators in the ocean. Stilt walking is the name given to this locomotive technique. Some predators may have enough strength to break their portable lair but most predators in the ocean are not intelligent enough to do so. When in danger, they create streams of water by funneling water through their siphon to propel it go faster.

How much does a coconut octopus weigh?

The bodyweight of a coconut octopus or veined octopus is between 7-9 oz (200-250 g).

What are their male and female names of the species?

A female octopus is called a 'hen'. Male octopuses have a specialized arm called a hectocotylus to inject sperm into the mantle region of females during mating.

What would you call a baby coconut octopus?

There is no particular name for a baby coconut octopus. A baby octopus is usually called a 'larvae'.

What do they eat?

A coconut octopus eats small invertebrates such as crabs, shrimp and, clams. Their beak is hard enough to break the shell of crustaceans. They are also able to prey on small fish in the ocean. A coconut octopus searches for prey and grabs it with their tentacles when they come too near. The prey is then brought to their mouths and perforated by their strong beaks.

Are they dangerous?

A coconut octopus is a venomous octopus but the venom is not dangerous to divers in the sea.

Would they make a good pet?

Octopuses are intelligent animals and they can be good pets if they acclimatize to their captive environment. A 55 gal (250 l) aquarium is required and a second tank is needed for holding the equipment when filtering the water. Food for a coconut octopus is also expensive. These octopuses display hunting behavior and prefer live prey in the same way they can find in the ocean.

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.

Did you know...

A coconut octopus is one of the rarest creatures that exhibit bipedal locomotion. Their movement resembles the walking of humans. While it is walking, this octopus carries a coconut shell or another protective item over its head with its other arms. Their bipedal abilities have evolved to adapt to a marine environment.

These little animals are also very selective about the tools they use. They are often seen picking up attractive plastic items from the sand, cleaning them with a careful spray of water jets and using them as shields.

Why does a coconut octopus glow?

No form of bioluminescence is produced by a coconut octopus. The sharp contrast between its darker body and white suckers may have a fluorescent effect. In reality, a coconut octopus does not glow.

How did the coconut octopus get its name?

A coconut octopus is one of the few invertebrates that are intelligent enough to use tools. Researchers from Melbourne Museum in Australia first noticed this type of behavior in this species. These octopuses were often noticed making a shelter in discarded, hollowed-out coconut half-shells lying on the sand of the ocean floor. Other than coconut shells, they also use clam shells and even plastic items as shields to protect themselves from predators. They are also known as a veined octopus due to the presence of veins in their main body.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other arthropods including blue crab, or jellyfish.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our giant octopus coloring pages.

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