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octopus facts world oceans day

Octopuses are amazing. In honor of World Oceans Day, here are eight facts about these incredible creatures.

8. Octopuses are masters of camouflage. However, research suggests that octopuses don’t try to blend into their entire environment—to look like coral, sand and seaweed all at once. A study published last year  foundthat octopuses, instead, picked a particular environmental feature—say a shell—and posed to look like it.

7. In addition to changing color to camouflage against a background, octopuses can also alter the texture of their skin. For example, an octopus that is trying to resemble kelp can use muscles under its skin to raise up papillae into seaweed-like ripples.

6. Octopuses are voracious eaters. Many species enjoy hard-shelled seafood, such as crabs, clams and mussels. How to they crack open their lunch without claws? They can use their strong arms to try to tear apart shells. And if that doesn’t work, they can drill in with their hard, spikey radula (like a toothed ribbon) and then suck their dinner out.

5. Underwater, octopuses can look quite coordinated and graceful. But octopus arms can move independently, without always having to take orders from the central brain. Each arm holds a host of neurons. And below the main brain is another neural network connecting the arms, allowing the limbs to coordinate tasks among one another. [continue]

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In some of Nivens Tales of Knonw Space, the aliens are octopi like in that they have a central brain and many tentacles or arms  - an interesting type of animal and one we should study more.

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