Octopuses? Octopi?

It’s a story that rivals any escape from Alcatraz. Inky, the Octopus, “squeezed through a slight gap at the top of his tank, flopped to the floor, then slithered about eight feet overland to slide down a drainpipe more than 160 feet long, and finally to plop into the bay.” That would be Hawke’s Bay, on the east coast of of New Zealand’s north island.

The more I learn about octopuses, the more I am impressed and surprised that they have not yet dominated the earth and made us humans their land-minions. Octopuses have evolved to possess amazing abilities – including advanced problem-solving skills and an array of offensive and defensive mechanisms.

If that wasn’t enough, there’s this fascinating (and humorous) look at the amazing octopus, with a bonus – excellent advice for writing a children’s book – at the end:

Watch an octopus hunting on land:

And the predator becomes the prey. (Don’t worry, the octopus is not alive in this video! The phenomenon is explained here.)

And now, which is it? Octopuses? Octopi? Octo–what?

That’s right. From now on, I’m just going to call them “octokitties.”

HollyJahangiri

Holly Jahangiri is the author of Trockle; A Puppy, Not a Guppy; Innocents & Demons; and A New Leaf for Lyle. You can find her books on Amazon at http://amazon.com/author/hollyjahangiri. For more information on her children's books, please visit http://jahangiri.us/books.
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6 thoughts on “Octopuses? Octopi?”

  1. Octopi are intelligent – but the females die after giving birth. They have lots of babies, but they can’t pass on culture (the biological father is long gone).

    This makes it impossible to make progress.

    I’m always surprised they are as intelligent as they are, given their severe limitations (no opposable thumbs), but I guess the ones who couldn’t get out of crevices when they got stuck did not reproduce.
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      1. Last I checked (I could be wrong – they find new things all the time) Lamark’s theories were thoroughly debunked.

        Experience doesn’t alter our DNA, so we can’t pass on experience. I suppose some bizarre process could destroy all sperm/egg cells with certain combinations, making the others more likely, but I haven’t heard of that.

        Even if they did pass something on that way (octupi), the parents aren’t around to help the young grow.
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      2. My point was that you’re applying human biology to octopuses. If we died and no one was around to take care of our babies, they would die. There’s really no debating that. It’s not true of octopuses, obviously. And they surely aren’t so smart that they have to relearn absolutely everything from scratch (especially given their really short lifespans). So perhaps experience is transferred in a way we don’t understand or relate to, at this point – a way that only works for octopuses and can’t be applied to humans.
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  2. Sooooo…. I like OctoKitties. Mind you, I still prefer my Cat, who is nice and cute and beautiful, and handsome, and soft, and furry.

    I guess we can be happy that “they are as they are”, else all that knowledge, ability, and wisdom would get passed on, down through the generations of OctoKitties, and then they would take over the world!

    All you would need, is a EVIL Blonde, who from Her Secret Island Base, breeds OctoKitties, and has figured out how to genetically transmit the knowledge of each generation, down to the next……

    But we know no one like that, do we? PHEW!

    It would make a great Bond Movie, tho…..

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