Common Octopus (Octopus vulgaris)


Family:                    Cephalopoda.

Status:                     No special status.

Size:                        10 feet at the largest, up to 55 lbs.  

Diet:                        Carnivore.

Characteristics:        Nocturnal, intelligent.

Area:                       Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean Sea.

Offspring:                250,000 eggs.

Predators:               Dolphin, shark, eel, dog snapper.



·       An octopus has three hearts—one systemic heart and two branchial hearts.

·       If an octopus loses one of its legs, it can grow another one in the same place.

·       Octopuses are invertebrates, meaning they have no backbone.

·       A 2000 TY beanie baby is incorrectly identified as a squid on the label—it’s really an octopus.

·       The word octopus is derived from the Greek oktopous, meaning eight and foot.

·       The plural of octopus is octopodes, octopi, or octopuses (the latter is the most commonly used).

·       Octopuses have been known to eat an arm when distressed.



Octopuses are solitary creatures who spend most of the day in a hole or rock crevice, emerging at night to feed. It has the ability to change colour to blend in with its environment and then waiting for prey to pass. It has a sac of ink which it can squirt into the water, creating a murky cloud to confuse its prey and/or to escape predators. Octopuses have excellent vision, large brains and smooth skin, although skin texture, like colour, can be altered. The undersides of the eight legs are covered with suction cups that can help the octopus to move along the bottom and to hold on to its prey. They have a sharp beak to crack the shell of certain molluscs open and then they shoot poison into the shell before sucking the flesh from the crustacean and tossing aside the empty shell. Octopuses are extremely intelligent and have been trained to recognize objects by touch as well as distinguishing shapes and simple tasks like opening a bottle.



Octopuses are found worldwide, usually in warm waters, at a depth of 100 to 150 metres. They create a den or nest from a crevice in a rock and cover the entrance with shells and stones to hide it from predators.



The male can be identified by a modified arm that he uses to take sperm from his mantle cavity and insert it into the female’s mantle cavity. Two months later, the female attaches the clustered eggs to the ceiling of her den. She stays close by, cleaning and aerating the eggs. A female usually doesn’t eat while brooding and digests her own digestive system so she is incapable of eating again. The eggs are hatched within four to eight months later, and the damage to her digestive system coupled with the extreme weight loss she undergoes, leads to her death shortly afterwards. The young octopuses are extremely small and float on the surface for about a month, then sink to the bottom where they live from that point on. An octopus can live from 12 to 24 months in the wild.