Ryan Photographic - Octopodidae - Octopuses
The family Octopodidae contains 146 species in 23 genera. Octopuses need little introduction, we all learn about them early in life. Except perhaps that "octopi" is NOT an acceptable plural for octopuses. The "i" ending is only applied to words of Latin origin (such as cacti) not to words with Greek derivation which is the case here. Octopodes maybe, but not octopi (but rules are made to be broken so I might as well give up on this one).
Octopuses are, as the name implies, characterized by their possession of eight arms. The rearmost pair are typically used for "walking". Some species, such as the coconut octopus below, are highly adept at this. The arms are equipped with suckers which give the animal amazing dexterity, together with a relatively large brain they are able to solve problems, such as undoing a jar to get at enclosed food.
Many species, including humans, like to eat octopuses. But like other cephalopods they possess extraordinary powers of color change and can pucker their skin to mimic surrounding textures. Like squid and cuttlefish, octopuses can release ink which not only hides their departure but may also, like Covid, bring about temporary loss of taste and smell.
Octopuses all have a venomous bite but as far as we know only the blue-ringed octopuses (which I have yet to see) are lethal to humans.
Octopuses range in size from less than a gram up to 71kg in the giant Pacific octopus. Some species only live for six months, while others, like the giant Pacific octopus, may live for five years. There is little point in reinventing the wheel so you are directed to the Wikipedia article if you'd like more information.
I had a scary encounter with an octopus when I was 16. I was in New Zealand's Marlborough Sounds on an adventure camp and was snorkeling with an Hawaiian sling. I'd never used one before and like most kids that age was hoping to spear something. As I was swimming in six feet of water I thought I saw a rock with an eye. So I turned around to investigate and realized it was an octopus. So, being 16, I shot it with the sling. Bad mistake. The octopus sent a couple of tentacles up the sling, wrapping one of them around my wrist and started to pull me down. I had no leverage and was slowly pulled towards it as my snorkel filled up with water. Fortunately I had been snorkeling since I was eight and didn't panic. But I was in a very tricky situation. I brought my other hand to the tentacle and tried to pull it off and once I was deep enough I was able to use my legs to push off the bottom, ripping the octopus up as I did so. I swam back to the jetty with my prize, where several of my colleagues helped me up the ladder with it. Then I did something incredibly stupid (what, me?). I pulled the octopus off the sling and threw it at my girlfriend who was snorkeling nearby. I don't think she ever forgave me. As for the octopus, we tried to cook it, but, as none of us had a clue what to do, it didn't turn out to be a culinary masterpiece. But it did teach me a lesson though and I only ever speared one more animal - a blue cod. Stricken with subsequent remorse at how it just looked at me I have never speared anything since then.
Abdopus, longarm or white-V octopus
Abdopus, longarm or white-V octopus, Rao, Morotai, Indonesia P7053763
Amphioctopus marginatus Coconut octopus
Amphioctopus marginatus Coconut octopus, Lembeh P7111097
Amphioctopus marginatus, Coconut octopus, Lembeh Straits IMG_6698
Amphioctopus marginatus, Well camouflaged coconut octopus, Magic Bay, Rao, Morotaia, Indonesia 5P7A6730
Macroctopus maorum? Maori or New Zealand Octopus
Macroctopus maorum? Maori or New Zealand Octopus. Captive.
Macroctopus maorum? Maori or New Zealand Octopus suckers
Octopus briareus Caribbean reef octopus
Octopus briareus Caribbean reef octopus Glover's Reef, Belize
Octopus briareus, Glover's Reef, Belize-3368
Octopus briareus, Glover's Reef, Belize-3372
Octopus briareus, Glover's Reef, Belize-3375. This guy, the same individual as above, is trying to make itself look as big as possible after being caught out in the open at night.
Octopus cyanea? Day octopus
Octopus cyanea? Day octopus, Julian Rocks, Byron Bay, Australia IMG_7576
Octopus cyanea?, Day octopus, Julian Rocks, Byron Bay, Australia IMG_7577
Amazingly cryptic Reef octopus, Kri, Raja Ampat, West Papua IMG_0447
Reef octopus, Kri, Raja Ampat, West Papua IMG_3354
Reef octopus, Kri, Raja Ampat, West Papua IMG_9590
Octopus camouflaged, Loreto, Sea of Cortez IMG_5201
Octopus, Sea of Cortez-6953
Thaumoctopus mimicus Mimic octopus
Thaumoctopus mimicus, Mimic octopus, Lembeh Straits IMG_6704
Thaumoctopus mimicus, Mimic octopus, Lembeh Straits IMG_6706
Wunderpus photogenicus Wunderpus
Wunderpus photogenicus Wonderpus Puerto Galera, Philippines IMG_8106
Wunderpus photogenicus Wunderpus Puerto Galera, Philippines IMG_8114
Wunderpus photogenicus Wunderpus Puerto Galera, Philippines IMG_8115
Wunderpus photogenicus Wunderpus Puerto Galera, Philippines IMG_8112. This extraordinary animal is well-named. It is hard to make out what you are seeing here. You can see an eye at the top of a very long stalk near the top of the photo.