This is most likely the only invertebrate (ever) that has played a leading role in the winning of an Oscar. Since the release of “My Octopus Teacher” (proudly South African), the intelligence and almost human-like interaction and communication displayed by this animal has seen a surge in recognition. However, even without the current hype these animals have always had a large sway over the human fascination and interest as is evidenced by their early apparition in human art on archaeological finds, going back thousands of years BC.
What is it about this animal that makes them such a feature in our imagination? In a way it is easier to ask what DOESN’T this animal do since it simply abounds with almost surreal abilities. Their body is almost completely devoid of hard structures (unlike the cuttlefish, squid or spirulid they have not retained any semblance of an internal shell) which means their ability to squeeze through openings is largely limited by their eyeballs. Their skin is a firework of possibilities, changing texture, colour and pattern in the blink of an eye. Their intelligence (as is understood by humans) is unrivalled in the invertebrate phyla, with stories of them outwitting researchers in their houdini like escapades being plentiful.
Mama octopuses are very diligent and devoted. Once her eggs have been fertilized inside a cavity of her mantle, the mother will lay them in some cave or other protected substrate and literally “fawn” over them, by continuous creation of currents through her siphon. This improves the chances of her eggs hatching enormously, but it is a full time job, and she gives up feeding and all other activities during this time, which can take up to 5 months (as recorded for the giant pacific octopus. Once the little ones hatch, she will perish, while the fathers generally having senesced long before.
For T-shirts and art prints of the Octopus in my Etsy store click on the images below:
Frontal-print T-shirts (starting from 21.00 USD):
For frontal-print sweatshirts (starting from 30.19 USD):
Frontal-print hoodie (starting from 34.24 USD):