(Flickr/Karen)

9 brains, 3 hearts: Some wild facts about octopuses

Things to know about the giant Pacific octopus, which is naturally found in the waters of the U.S. West coast, the Aleutian Islands and Japan

Mythology and superstition have portrayed octopuses as alien beings or evil creatures dwelling in the terrifying dark depths of oceans.

Little wonder, considering they are a bit unusual.

The giant Pacific octopus has three hearts, nine brains and blue blood, making reality stranger than fiction.

Things to know about the giant Pacific octopus, which is naturally found in the waters of the U.S. West coast, the Aleutian Islands and Japan:

———

NINE BRAINS

A central brain controls the nervous system. In addition, there is a small brain in each of their eight arms — a cluster of nerve cells that biologists say controls movement. This allows the arms to work independently of each other, yet together toward the same goal.

———

THREE HEARTS

That makes sense, considering their bodies are all muscle except for two small plates anchoring their heads, together with a beak used to grasp and bite prey. Two hearts pump blood to the gills. A larger heart that circulates blood to the rest of the body.

———

BLUE BLOOD

The blood of the giant Pacific octopus has a copper-rich protein called hemocyanin that improves its ability to transport oxygen in cold ocean environments.

———

CAMOUFLAGE

They’re able to change their colour and texture to camouflage themselves in the blink of an eye, thanks to a complex system of specialized pigment sacs called chromatophores, nerves and muscles.

———

TOXIC INK

Octopuses have glands that produce a toxic ink which is then stored in large sacs. When the animal is alarmed, it squirts the ink in a powerful jet in one direction that simultaneously propels the animal in the opposite direction, effectively clouding the water to confuse a potential threat while fleeing to safety.

———

LOTS OF SUCKERS

Adult female giant Pacific octopuses have about 280 suckers in each of their eight arms. Males have fewer suction cups because the tip of their third right arm functions as a reproductive organ.

———

THE ULTIMATE SACRIFICE

Giant Pacific octopus mothers sacrifice their lives after laying their eggs in deep-water dens. They live with their eggs for up to seven months without eating, ensuring that streams of oxygen- and nutrient-rich water waft over them. Mothers usually die after their broods hatch.

———

SOURCES: New England Aquarium, Oceana, The Natural History Museum, Monterey Bay Aquarium

———

(Canadian Press)

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

ALUS Lacombe County program ready for more participants

ALUS program places a value on the delivery of ecosystem services

UPDATE: Generals take first-round series over Stony Plain

Win sets up second-round ACHW series with rival Innisfail

Lacombe Property Assessments are in the mail

Residents should look over assessment before Feb. 28th

WATCH: Canada Games Torch Relay lights spark in Lacombe

100s brave blistering cold to support local torchbearers

Ontario man accused of killing 11-year-old daughter dies in hospital, police say

Roopesh Rajkumar had been hospitalized with what police described as a self-inflicted gunshot wound

Manitoba ‘pauses’ link with ex-B.C. premier Gordon Campbell after allegations

Campbell had been hired to review two major hydro projects

Heritage minute features Japanese-Canadian baseball team, internment

The Vancouver Asahi baseball team won various championships across the Pacific Northwest

Hee-Won Son takes home gold in 500m Female Short Track Speed Skating

Team Alberta sits in second place overall at the Canada Winter Games

Shots fired in Maskwacis home invasion

Maskwacis RCMP are searching for three suspects in a home invasion (with photos)

CRTC report finds ‘misleading, aggressive’ sales tactics used by telecom industry

Report recommends measures to make a fairer situation for consumers

Crude-by-rail shipments set new record in December despite lower price discounts

Canada exported nearly 354,000 barrels per day of oil, up seven per cent from November

Do you live with your partner? More and more Canadians don’t

Statistics Canada shows fewer couples live together than did a decade ago

Most Read