Octopuses: Geniuses of the Invertebrate World

Octopuses are, hmmm well how can I put this? Octopuses are amazing, incredible, magnificent, wonderful, fascinating, in many ways unique and mind-blowingly intelligent.  They are also cephalopods, and within that coleoid cephalopods.

Cephalopod Genetics – Californian two-spot octopus (Octopus bimaculoides) – first to have genome sequenced – expanded genes for neuron development.

The only truly social octopus is the Pacific Striped Octopus – no scientific name as it has not been officially described yet. In groups of 40+, also this species can lay and brood more than one batch of eggs, making it the most fecund of Octopi.

Mimic Octopus – Thaumoctopus mimicus, found from Indonesia to the Red Sea is known to be able to mimic 16 species of other animals including; Flounder, Stingrays, Sea Snakes, Crabs, Jellyfish, Anemones, Sea Stars, Sea Cucumbers, and other fish.

Granelodone boreopacifica was observed to brood a batch of 160 eggs for 53 months (four years and five months) at a depth of 4600 ft 1100 meters

Octopuses Geniuses of the Invertebrate World
Octopuses Geniuses of the Invertebrate World

Octopus Farming

Because octopuses are so popular as a food source all around the world it is hardly surprising that considerable research has been done on methods of commercially farming them.

Until recently their solitary and often cannibalistic natures, along with the fact that the young will only eat live food has made this extremely difficult. However, in late 2021 a  subsidiary of Nueva Pescanova announced it had succeeded.

The BBC news article reporting on this states that the new octopus farm, situated in the Canary Islands, is hoped to be selling octopus by 2023.  The company anticipates that this one farm will produce 3,000 tonnes of octopus per year.

While endeavors like this will inevitably take pressure off the natural stocks of octopus, which are now showing some decline in populations (as indicated by decreasing commercial catches), many animal rights experts were, and still are horrified by the idea of commercial farming of such an intelligent animal.

Common Octopus (Octopus vulgaris)
Common Octopus (Octopus vulgaris)

Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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