* Since early times, tales of horror have been gone around strange
sea creatures, especially the giant squid and the fearsome octopus.
They are among the largest, strongest, fastest, most cunning, and
ferocious of all animals. Many of them, however, are quite harmless
and are useful in a variety of ways.
*The Eight-Armed Octopus
The octopus is a soft, bag-shaped creature. It has eight long,
slender arms, with cup shaped suckers and connected by thin membranes
(a thin flexible tissue in the body), which reach out in all
*It may move over the bottom of the aquarium tank with the tips of its
arms as delicately and gracefully as a ballet dancer. The impression
you are likely to get is that the octopus is a soft, flexible creature
in constant, controlled motion.
*About 50 different kinds of octopuses are distributed throughout the
oceans of the world. Those off the east and west coasts of North
America have bodies only three or four inches long, with short arms
about as long as the body. Other kinds reach a total length of nine or
ten feet and may weigh 70 pounds.
*The octopus lives on the ocean bottom in shallow waters where it
crawls about on its arms, searching in every gap, hole or crack for
its favorite food of shrimps, crabs, and mussels. It is a skillful
hunter and attacks such large prey as sharks and dogfish! It stalks a
victim until it can drop down on it from above. Then wrapping the arms
around it, and with suckers firmly attached, it drags the prey into
its powerful jaws. If the octopus is losing the battle it shoot...
... middle of paper ...
*Soon after a male has mated the female, the female begins to lay
eggs, producing about 150,000 in two weeks. The female guards them for
the next 50 days, cleaning them with her suckers with water.
*The young of such species as the white-spotted octopus are only about
3 mm (about 0.12 in) long. They float to the surface and become part
of the plankton for about a month, then sink and begin their normal
life on the bottom. Octopuses generally stay in one area as adults.
* Octopuses vary greatly in size; the smallest, is about 5 cm
(2 inches) long, while the largest species may grow to 5.4 m (18 feet)
in length and have an arm span of almost 9 m (30 feet).
*The typical octopus has a secular body. Each arm has two rows of
fleshy suckers that are capable of
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