Octopus

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The octopus is a cephalopod mollusc in 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 vestigal 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 camoflauge 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 species, the blue-ringed octopuses, is known to be deadly to humans.[3]

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.

Contents

Biology

Octopuses are characterized by their eight arms, usually bearing suction cups. The arms of octopuses are often distinguished from the pair of feeding tentacles found in squid and cuttlefish.[4] Both types of limbs are muscular hydrostats. Unlike most other cephalopods, the majority of octopuses – those in the suborder most commonly known, Incirrina – have almost entirely soft bodies with no internal skeleton. They have neither a protective outer shell like the nautilus, nor any vestige of an internal shell or bones, like cuttlefish or squid. A beak, similar in shape to a parrot's beak, is the only hard part of their body. This enables them to squeeze through very narrow slits between underwater rocks, which is very helpful when they are fleeing from morays or other predatory fish. The octopuses in the less familiar Cirrina suborder have two fins and an internal shell, generally reducing their ability to squeeze into small spaces. These cirrate species are often free-swimming and live in deep-water habitats, while incirrate octopus species are found in reefs and other shallower seafloor habitats.

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