World octopus day is celebrated annually on 8 October. The purpose of World octopus day is to educate the public concerning these fascinating creatures. The octopus is a soft-bodied, eight-limbed mollusc of the order Octopoda. Around 300 species are recognised, and the order is grouped within the class Cephalopoda with squids, cuttlefish, and nautiloids. Like other cephalopods, the octopus is bilaterally symmetric with two eyes and a beak, with its mouth at the center point of the eight limbs (traditionally called “arms”, sometimes mistakenly called “tentacles”). The soft body can rapidly alter its shape, enabling octopuses to squeeze through small gaps. They trail their eight appendages behind them as they swim. The siphon is used both for respiration and for locomotion, by expelling a jet of water. Octopuses have a complex nervous system and excellent sight, and are among the most intelligent and behaviourally diverse of all invertebrates.
Octopuses inhabit various regions of the ocean, including coral reefs, pelagic waters, and the seabed; some live in the intertidal zone and others at abyssal depths. Most species grow fast, mature early and are short-lived. During breeding, the male uses a specially adapted arm to deliver a bundle of sperm directly into the female’s mantle cavity, after which he becomes senescent and dies. The female deposits fertilised eggs in a den and cares for them until they hatch, after which she also dies. Strategies to defend themselves against predators include the expulsion of ink, the use of camouflage and threat displays, their abilities to jet quickly through the water and hide, and even through deceit. All octopuses are venomous, but only the blue-ringed octopuses are known to be deadly to humans.
The giant Pacific octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini) is often cited as the largest known octopus species. Adults usually weigh around 15 kg (33 lb), with an arm span of up to 4.3 m (14 ft).The largest specimen of this species to be scientifically documented was an animal with a live mass of 71 kg (156.5 lb). Much larger sizes have been claimed for the giant Pacific octopus: one specimen was recorded as 272 kg (600 lb) with an arm span of 9 m (30 ft). A carcass of the seven-arm octopus, Haliphron atlanticus, weighed 61 kg (134 lb) and was estimated to have had a live mass of 75 kg (165 lb) The smallest species is Octopus wolfi, which is around 2.5 cm (1 in) and weighs less than 1 g (0.035 oz)
The octopus is bilaterally symmetrical along its dorso-ventral axis; the head and foot are at one end of an elongated body and function as the anterior (front) of the animal. The head includes the mouth and brain. The foot has evolved into a set of flexible, prehensile appendages, known as “arms”, that surround the mouth and are attached to each other near their base by a webbed structure. The arms can be described based on side and sequence position (such as L1, R1, L2, R2) and divided into four pairs. The two rear appendages are generally used to walk on the sea floor, while the other six are used to forage for food, hence some biologists refer to the animals has having six “arms” and two “legs”. The bulbous and hollow mantle is fused to the back of the head and is known as the visceral hump; it contains most of the vital organs. The mantle cavity has muscular walls and contains the gills Respiration involves drawing water into the mantle cavity through an aperture, passing it through the gills, and expelling it through the siphon which is connected to the exterior. The mouth of an octopus, located underneath the arms, has a sharp hard beak. Octopuses have a closed circulatory system, where the blood remains inside blood vessels. Octopuses have three hearts; a systemic heart that circulates blood round the body and two branchial hearts that pump it through each of the two gills.
The digestive system of the octopus begins with the buccal mass which consists of the mouth, pharynx, radula and salivary glands. The radula is a spiked, tongue-like organ made of chitin. Food is broken down and is forced into the oesophagus by two lateral extensions of the esophageal side walls in addition to the radula. From there it is transferred to the gastrointestinal tract, which is mostly suspended from the roof of the mantle cavity by numerous membranes. The tract consists of a crop, where the food is stored; a stomach, where food is ground down; a caecum where the now sludgy food is sorted into fluids and particles and which plays an important role in absorption; the digestive gland, where liver cells break down and absorb the fluid and become “brown bodies”; and the intestine, where the accumulated waste is turned into faecal ropes by secretions and blown out of the funnel via the rectum.
The octopus (along with cuttlefish) has the highest brain-to-body mass ratios of all invertebrates; it is also greater than that of many vertebrates. It has a highly complex nervous system, only part of which is localised in its brain, which is contained in a cartilaginous capsule.Two-thirds of an octopus’s neurons are found in the nerve cords of its arms, which can perform complex reflex actions. Attached to the brain are two special organs called statocysts (sac-like structures containing a mineralised mass and sensitive hairs), that allow the octopus to sense the orientation of its body. Due to its intelligence, octopuses can also distinguish the polarisation of light. Colour vision appears to vary from species to species,
The skin consists of a thin outer epidermis with mucous cells and sensory cells, and a connective tissue dermis consisting largely of collagen fibres and various cells allowing colour change. Most of the body is made of soft tissue allowing it to lengthen, contract, and contort itself. The octopus can squeeze through tiny gaps; even the larger species can pass through an opening close to 2.5 cm (1 in) in diameter. Lacking skeletal support, the arms work as muscular hydrostats and contain longitudinal, transverse and circular muscles around a central axial nerve. They can extend and contract, twist to left or right, bend at any place in any direction or be held rigid.
Octopuses also have an excellent sense of touch. They have eight arms and the interior surfaces of the arms are covered with circular, adhesive suckers. The suckers allow the octopus to anchor itself or to manipulate objects. Each sucker is usually circular and bowl-like and has two distinct parts: an outer shallow cavity called an infundibulum and a central hollow cavity called an acetabulum, both of which are thick muscles covered in a protective chitinous cuticle. When a sucker attaches to a surface, the orifice between the two structures is sealed. The infundibulum provides adhesion while the acetabulum remains free, and muscle contractions allow for attachment and detachment. The octopus’s suction cups are also equipped with chemoreceptors so the octopus can taste what it touches. The arms contain tension sensors so the octopus knows whether its arms are stretched out, but this is not sufficient for the brain to determine the position of the octopus’s body or arms. As a result, the octopus does not possess stereognosis; that is, it does not form a mental image of the overall shape of the object it is handling. It can detect local texture variations, but cannot integrate the information into a larger picture. The neurological autonomy of the arms means the octopus has great difficulty learning about the detailed effects of its motions. It has a poor proprioceptive sense, and it knows what exact motions were made only by observing the arms visually. Despite this Octopus arms do not become tangled or stuck to each other because the sensors recognise octopus skin and prevent self-attachment.
The eyes of the octopus are large and are at the top of the head. They are similar in structure to those of a fish and are enclosed in a cartilaginous capsule fused to the cranium. The cornea is formed from a translucent epidermal layer and the slit-shaped pupil forms a hole in the iris and lies just behind. The lens is suspended behind the pupil and photoreceptive retinal cells cover the back of the eye. The pupil can be adjusted in size and a retinal pigment screens incident light in bright conditions.
Octopuses appear in mythology as sea monsters like the Kraken of Norway and the Akkorokamui of the Ainu, and probably the Gorgon of ancient Greece. A battle with an octopus appears in Victor Hugo’s book Toilers of the Sea, inspiring other works such as Ian Fleming’s Octopussy. Octopuses appear in Japanese erotic art, shunga. They are eaten and considered a delicacy by humans in many parts of the world, especially the Mediterranean and the Asian seas.