Octopods Nautilids Cuttlefishes Squids and Relatives: Cephalopoda
Common Octopus (octopus Vulgaris): Species Accounts
Physical characteristics: The mantle plus the longest tentacle is about 120 inches (3 meters) long. The ball-shaped mantle is variable in color but usually reddish brown. The skin is smooth but may temporarily have bumps of different sizes and shapes. The thick, armlike tentacles are four times the length of the mantle and have two alternating rows of suckers. The head is nearly as wide as the mantle and has a pair of distinctive eyes.
Geographic range: They are found worldwide in both cool and warm waters.
Habitat: They live on the ocean bottom among rocks, coral reefs, and seagrass beds, from the seashore down to depths of 656 feet (200 meters).
Diet: They eat mostly crabs, lobsters, clams, and snails.
Behavior and reproduction: These animals appear to be quite intelligent, and their complex behaviors are well-known to scientists.
Adults reproduce twice a year, in spring and fall. Females lay between 120,000 and 400,000 eggs in strings and deposit them among rocks and corals in shallow waters. The hatchlings are planktonic.
Common octopuses and people: They are harvested as food and are used as study animals by scientists interested in animal behavior.
Conservation status: The common octopus is not considered threatened or endangered. ∎
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