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What does an octopus eat? – Lily, age 4, Maryland
The octopus is among the coolest animals within the sea.
For starters, they’re invertebrates. Which means they don’t have backbones like people, lions, turtles and birds.
Which will sound uncommon, however truly, almost all animals on Earth are invertebrates – about 97%.
Octopuses are a selected kind of invertebrate known as cephalopods. The title means “head-feet” as a result of the arms of cephalopods encompass their heads. Different kinds of cephalopods embody squid, nautiloids and cuttlefish.
What do they eat?
As marine ecologists, we conduct analysis on how ocean animals work together with one another and their environments. We’ve largely studied fish, from lionfish to sharks, however now we have to admit we stay captivated by octopuses.
What octopuses eat is determined by what species they’re and the place they reside. Their prey consists of gastropods, like snails and sea slugs; bivalves, like clams and mussels; crustaceans, like lobsters and crabs; and fish.
To catch their meals, octopuses use numerous methods and methods. Some octopuses wrap their arms – not tentacles – round prey to tug them shut. Some use their arduous beak to drill into the shells of clams. All octopuses are venomous; they inject toxins into their prey to overpower and kill them.
The place do they reside?
There are about 300 species of octopus, and so they’re present in each ocean on the planet, even within the frigid waters round Antarctica. A particular substance of their blood helps these cold-water species get oxygen. It additionally turns their blood blue.
You will discover octopuses at completely different depths too. Some are discovered on heat tropical reefs just some ft beneath the floor of the water. Others reside deep within the sea, virtually at midnight. The species that goes deepest is the dumbo octopus, noticed at 22,800 ft down – that’s greater than 4 miles (nearly 7 kilometers).
How good are they?
Octopuses are on the head of the category. They’re among the many smartest invertebrates on Earth. They’ve 9 brains – one mini-brain in every arm and one other within the heart of their our bodies. Every arm can independently style, contact and carry out primary actions, however all arms may work collectively when prompted by the central mind.
Octopuses put their brains to good use. They will remedy mazes and puzzles, significantly when meals is the reward. Generally they even outsmart folks: On the New Zealand Nationwide Aquarium, Inky discovered find out how to sneak out of his tank and escape to the ocean by way of a drainpipe.
How do they modify colour?
Octopuses are consultants at disguising themselves to allow them to mix in with their environment. A method they do it’s by altering colour. Particular cells, known as chromatophores, obtain a sign from the mind to tighten the muscle tissues to indicate extra colour, or loosen them to indicate much less. Blue, inexperienced, pink, grey – they flip these colours and extra to cover from predators, entice mates, attract prey and warn enemies to remain away.
Some species additionally change their pores and skin texture, making it smoother or bumpier, to allow them to camouflage themselves in rocks and foliage. Some spray ink when confronted by predators like sharks; this permits the octopus sufficient time to swim to security.
The mimic octopus is especially intelligent. It strikes its arms specifically methods to mimic different ocean animals. For instance, if it desires to look fierce, it extends two black-and-white striped arms out broad to seem like the venomous sea snake. Or it flattens itself alongside the ocean flooring, arms subsequent to its physique, to seem like a toxic flatfish.
The octopus in danger
When confronting people, an octopus tends to be nonaggressive – simply so long as you give them area, such as you would any ocean animal.
Though octopuses have methods to keep away from predators, they continue to be in danger from different threats: chemical pollution, marine particles, habitat loss, overfishing and local weather change.
However all of us people can assist by making ocean-smart decisions. That features studying find out how to in the reduction of on carbon emissions and utilizing much less plastic. Doing these items will assist the octopus and different marine creatures not solely survive, however thrive.
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