(Flickr/Karen)

9 brains, 3 hearts: Some wild facts about octopuses

Things to know about the giant Pacific octopus, which is naturally found in the waters of the U.S. West coast, the Aleutian Islands and Japan

Mythology and superstition have portrayed octopuses as alien beings or evil creatures dwelling in the terrifying dark depths of oceans.

Little wonder, considering they are a bit unusual.

The giant Pacific octopus has three hearts, nine brains and blue blood, making reality stranger than fiction.

Things to know about the giant Pacific octopus, which is naturally found in the waters of the U.S. West coast, the Aleutian Islands and Japan:

———

NINE BRAINS

A central brain controls the nervous system. In addition, there is a small brain in each of their eight arms — a cluster of nerve cells that biologists say controls movement. This allows the arms to work independently of each other, yet together toward the same goal.

———

THREE HEARTS

That makes sense, considering their bodies are all muscle except for two small plates anchoring their heads, together with a beak used to grasp and bite prey. Two hearts pump blood to the gills. A larger heart that circulates blood to the rest of the body.

———

BLUE BLOOD

The blood of the giant Pacific octopus has a copper-rich protein called hemocyanin that improves its ability to transport oxygen in cold ocean environments.

———

CAMOUFLAGE

They’re able to change their colour and texture to camouflage themselves in the blink of an eye, thanks to a complex system of specialized pigment sacs called chromatophores, nerves and muscles.

———

TOXIC INK

Octopuses have glands that produce a toxic ink which is then stored in large sacs. When the animal is alarmed, it squirts the ink in a powerful jet in one direction that simultaneously propels the animal in the opposite direction, effectively clouding the water to confuse a potential threat while fleeing to safety.

———

LOTS OF SUCKERS

Adult female giant Pacific octopuses have about 280 suckers in each of their eight arms. Males have fewer suction cups because the tip of their third right arm functions as a reproductive organ.

———

THE ULTIMATE SACRIFICE

Giant Pacific octopus mothers sacrifice their lives after laying their eggs in deep-water dens. They live with their eggs for up to seven months without eating, ensuring that streams of oxygen- and nutrient-rich water waft over them. Mothers usually die after their broods hatch.

———

SOURCES: New England Aquarium, Oceana, The Natural History Museum, Monterey Bay Aquarium

———

(Canadian Press)

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Community of Vavenby weekly news update

Vavenby fire chief asks Doris Scarff to paint two murals on the inside walls of fire hall

Blue River Powder Packers blocked from accessing popular riding areas

Snowmobile tourism group loses revenue over lack of notice from logging activity

Back in Time

Historical Perspective

Tourism Wells Gray to benefit from new provincial funding

Funds provided to help further develop tourism opportunities and bring new visitors to the area

First presumptive case of coronavirus identified in the Interior Health region

The woman, in her 30s, travelled from Shanghai and lives in the interior

VIDEO: 7 things you need to know about the 2020 B.C. budget

Surplus of $227 million with big spending on infrastructure and capital projects

Via Rail lays off 1,000 employees temporarily as anti-pipeline blockades drag on

The Crown corporation has suspended passenger trains on its Montreal-Toronto and Ottawa-Toronto

VIDEO: Knife-wielding man arrested after barricading himself in Lower Mainland Walmart

A man had barricaded himself in the freezer section of the fish area at a Walmart in Richmond

Budget 2020: Weaver ‘delighted,’ minority B.C. NDP stable

Project spending soars along with B.C.’s capital debt

B.C. widow ‘crushed’ over stolen T-shirts meant for memorial blanket

Lori Roberts lost her fiancé one month ago Tuesday now she’s lost almost all she had left of him

Higher costs should kill Trans Mountain pipeline, federal opposition says

Most recent total was $12.6 billion, much higher than a previous $7.4-billion estimate

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say they’ll meet with ministers if RCMP get out

Federal minister in charge of Indigenous relations has proposed a meeting to diffuse blockades

Trees Cannabis director fined $1.5M for selling marijuana

Fine follows provincial crackdown on popular dispensary

World Cup skier from Okanagan dies suddenly at 19

Kuroda, who made his World Cup debut earlier this year, passed away suddenly Monday night.

Most Read