Order Octopoda

Members of the order Octopoda have eight arms and no shell at all, but they have evolved mechanisms to protect themselves from predators. Some of the remarkable abilities of octopi include their ability to change their colour, texture, and apparent size for camouflage; and to expel ink to confuse predators.

Order Octopoda may be divided into:

-Suborder Cirrata
  • "soft-bodied, semigelatinous animals with a pair of small
    to large fins, a deep and sometimes complicated web and a relatively large, single internal shell"(Voss, 1988)

  • lay large eggs which may indicate that the hatchlings are
    well-developed and adult-like in behaviour
-Suborder Incirrata
  • the more familiar unfinned octopus

In the vast majority of natural deaths, both males and females undergo a 2 to 4 week period of deterioration during which feeding is sporadic, and the skin, arms and internal organs degenerate. In most males, this deterioration occurs after mating, and in females it occurs after egg laying.
Figure 19: Two octopi doing the "wild thing". The male is on top and is using his modified third
arm, the hectocotylus, to transfer sperm into the females mantle.
H. lunulata, the blue-ringed octopus is found in the Indo-West Pacific and Indian oceans.


© Sarah Vandervlugt.1998