Riley and I tumbled around a few ideas for what mural to paint in his room… from a “Skateboarder” theme to a “Surfer” theme… but I just couldn’t find the inspiration for either. All I kept envisioning in my head was a forsaken vessel enveloped by a huge Kraken. Probably not ideal for a 5 year old… but the idea mutated from giant scary Kraken to the heart of Riley’s soon to be mural: the Octopus aka “Devilfish,” as they were sometimes called.
Drawing octopi just flows out so easily for me… like the graceful and awe inspiring dance of an octopus floating through the water, arms undulating in sinuous wavelike motion. They are so beautiful!!!
WHAT IS IN A NAME?
from wikipedia: The octopus is a cephalopod mollusc of the order Octopoda. Octopuses have two eyes and four pairs of arms, and like other cephalopods they are bilaterally symmetric. An octopus has a hard beak, with its mouth at the center point of the arms. Octopuses have no internal or external skeleton (although some species have a vestigial remnant of a shell inside their mantle), allowing them to squeeze through tight places. Octopuses are among the most intelligent and behaviorally flexible of all invertebrates.
The octopus inhabits many diverse regions of the ocean, including coral reefs, pelagic waters, and the ocean floor. They have numerous strategies for defending themselves against predators, including the expulsion of ink, the use of camouflage and deimatic displays, their ability to jet quickly through the water, and their ability to hide. An octopus trails its eight arms behind it as it swims. All octopuses are venomous, but only one group, the blue-ringed octopuses, is known to be deadly to humans.
In the larger sense, there are around 300 recognized octopus species, which is over one-third of the total number of known cephalopod species. The term octopus may also be used to refer only to those creatures in the genus Octopus.
Each of the octopus’s arms have two rows of suction cups each of which has ‘taste sensors’ to allow it to identify food. It is able to distinguish different textures and tastes with these sensors. With the ability to regenerate lost arms and an eye on each side of its head Octopi are hardy predators with unique self defence mechanisms and very good eyesight. Octopuses have acute vision and are able to detect colors. Just like the human eye, the octopus eye consists of a light-sensitive retina, lens and two fluid-filled chambers. They are however deaf due to the fact that they lack hearing organs.
Most Octopi have a globe-shaped ‘head’ or mantle that contains all the vital organs and mouth which hold a sharp beak which is used to kill and decimate prey. The brain is highly developed and they are able to learn fast. Their skin is smooth and ranges in color most normally from a tan to light brown with some coloration, but many are able to change colors by contracting skin cells filled with pigments to allow it to hide when hunting for prey. Some Octopi can even mimic other fish and objects, and their defensive arsenal includes the ability to squirt an ink like substance at an attacker to mask their getaway.
With life spans of approximately two years Octopus are often confused with squid, another Cephalopoda which has two longer arms called ‘tentacles’ – in an octopus all eight appendages are of a similar length and are called ‘arms’ not legs.
Living primarily in dens which provide refuge from predators including other octopi and various fish their staple consists primarily of crustaceans and molluscs such as crabs and scallops. This diet is supplemented by other bivalves, snails, fish and even other octopi. They gain access to shelled prey either by pulling it apart, biting it with their beak to break it apart or by drilling through the shell and secreting a toxin to dissolve the connective tissues.
Although difficult to maintain in captivity it is not unheard of for some people to keep them as pets, although they are very sensitive and their short life span discourages many would-be owners, as does the ability to escape from even well secured tanks due to their well known problem-solving abilities and high intelligence, which has been compared to that of an average house cat. They also are a food source in many parts of the world and some species are even bred and raised exclusively for that purpose.
A misconception is that octopi eat their own arms when stressed – but studies have show that this behaviour is caused by a virus that attacks the nervous system although stress may allow the virus to attack more readily.
There are over 160 different species of Octopus, broken into two large groups:
• Cirrata: Finned octopi that live at depths between 1,000 and 24,000 feet
• Incirrata: non-finned shallow water dwellers
Octopus have a sharp beak that it uses to crack shells and inject poisons and digestive fluids into shellfish and other prey.
Species links!!! 🙂