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  • Writer's pictureMermaid Seren

Fishy February; A-Z of a Mermaid's Friends (O)

O - Octopus

Our famous eight-armed friends are seriously cool! Who’s ready for ALL the facts? 🐙 Notice how I said arms? They’re not legs or tentacles! Two-thirds of an octopus' neurons are in its arms rather than its head, which means that an octopus can focus on exploring a cave for food with one arm while another arm tries to crack open a shellfish! Despite this, the word octopus comes from Greek, and means “eight foot” 🙈 A common octopus has around 240 suckers on each arm! These suckers are incredibly sensitive, and as octopuses are notorious escape artists, sometimes AstroTurf is used along the tops of tanks in aquariums as they don’t like how it feels! Notice how I haven’t said octopi? That’s because the correct plurals are octopuses and octopodes! They have 3 hearts, blue blood, squirt ink to deter predators and are boneless, so they can squeeze through tiny spaces!! There are 289 different recognised species of octopus, and they come in many different sizes! The largest recorded Giant Pacific Octopus was more than 9m across and weighed over 270kg!!! They’re able to camouflage themselves; changing colour to match their surroundings to avoid predators. But if they are caught, they’re able to detach arms and regrow them! The oldest octopus fossil is from 296 million years ago - millions of years before dinosaurs! They’re incredibly intelligent! They’ve been recorded using tools, can open childproof bottles and have even been known to squirt water at keepers they dislike!


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