The Giant Pacific Octopus This paper is about octopus dofleni, which is a bottom-dwelling octopus that lives on coasts of the pacific ocean, from Northern Japan to California. This essay will provide a brief overview of its life, habits and other characteristics of this, intelligent and creative invertebrate and member of the Octopodidae family. The life of the pacific giant may begin at any time of the year. The mating season however tends to peak in the month of December, with most of their eggs being laid in April and May. Octopuses reproduction is sexual and takes place in the somewhat shallow depths of 25 -100m and can last hours.
The fertilization process begins with the male octopus, he uses his third right tentacle which has no suckers but a modified structure known as the hectocotylus to pass spermatophore from within his mantle cavity into the the mantle cavity of the female, also known as the oviduct. Male octopuses may mate with more than one female in their lifetime and females tend have a preference of larger males for their mates. While the female lives until the eggs have time to hatch, the male dies only a few months after breeding. Reproduction
After being fertilized the female will close herself off in a den here she will lay anywhere between 20,000 and 100,000 eggs over a span of 2-3 weeks. Incubation can take from six to eight months. During this time the female octopus will take to cleaning algae and bacteria off the eggs as well as blowing water at them to keep a steady supply of oxygen. After the eggs hatch, the mother clears an opening in the den for her young to swim up to the surface of the ocean. Life Span After hatching the octopus larva become much like plankton, drifting along the surface of the ocean feeding on particles of dead food from other larger animals.
This stage lasts 30-90 days at which point the octopus descends to the bottom of the ocean where it will spend the rest of its life. The Pacific giant may live up to five years without mating. Some have been recorded weighing up to 600 pounds and being 31 feet wide, but the average size is only about 9 feet wide and 100 pounds in weight, still weighing in as the largest species of octopus. The Den of the Octopus When making or finding a den, octopuses are very resourceful, some dig up areas of sea floor to build their own den, but others prefer to live in manmade dens such as sunken ships.
Dens are very important to octopuses, they use them for hatching their eggs, feeding, and sometimes uses it to hide from predators such as larger octopuses and seals. In general, octopuses are very mobile, and may occupy multiple dens in their lifetime. Feeding Habits Octopuses feed on everything from smaller octopus, crustaceans, crabs, and shrimp. Octopuses usually hunt at night and capture their prey in many different ways, some use their brute strength and size while others poison prey with their venom.
Lifestyle and Characteristics Much like the other aspects of its life, the octopus is very resourceful, in its defense and hunting methods and mechanisms. Some species of octopus are extremely poisonous to man; they can administer their poison in two ways, by either biting with their bird like beaks, or releasing the venom into the surrounding water of its prey. Though octopuses usually use this tool for hunting, and not defense, this poison can attack the nervous, and respiratory systems of man and can cause death within an hour.
There is currently no known antivenom for the octopus’s deadly poison. Octopuses also have the ability to change the color of their skin in order to camouflage themselves. This is done through the use of chromatophore cells in the skin. Chromatophore cells are comprised of three sacks containing different colors. The octopus can adjust these colors to match the color of their background. The normal color of the octopus is brown, but it is also seen in other colors correlating with their emotions, such as red for anger and white for fear.
The skin of the octopus is generally very soft, the only part that is not is the beak or the head of the octopus, this allows octopuses to fit through holes no larger than the beak its self. All octopuses have the ability to shoot out a jet of purple or blackish ink like fluid from under their eyes, in order to perform a disappearing act when they feel threatened. The octopus can shoot out several blotches of this fluid before the fluid sac is emptied. This trick is not always an option, the ink is actually toxic to the octopus, and if shot in a confined area, the octopus will become sick or even die.
Octopuses have fairly good eyes, in fact they are comparable to ours in clarity. The eyes of the octopus differ from ours, in the aspect that they focus by moving in, and out while the human eye works by changing the shape and size of the lens itself. The octopus also posseses the most advanced brain of all invertebrates, with both short, and long term memories. This allows the octopus to learn in much the same way as humans, through trial and error. When an octopus learns a lesson it remembers and puts its knowledge to use in the future.
The octopus has eight arms, with 250 suckers on each arm for a total of 2000 suckers on their body. These suckers are very sensitive to touch, in fact, the octopus can differentiate between different objects just as well with their suckers as they can with their eyes. Some species have particular suckers that are larger than the rest This is to aid in reproduction. Although octopuses often lose arms to predators, it is of no consequence as the arm will grow back in a short time. The Octopus Dolfeni and Man The pacific giant is the most common commercial species of octopus and is caught by fisheries from north Japan to Washington state.
The octopuses are caught in large sometimes clay pots and raised to the surface. The octopuses are used for bait and for consumption by humans. Although these octopuses are caught in nearly all of their habitats, they are not endangered. The ocean is where life began, and is a far more competitive, and harsher world than the world we know. So it comes as no surprise that the most advanced and well adapted life forms would be found in the ocean. Although octopuses do not build large structured civilizations, they are obviously another form of intelligent and highly adapted life forms.