(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

PHOTOS: Alberta male team takes silver in Winter Games relay speed skating

Alberta was close behind Quebec in the team relay speed skating finals

County of Paintearth bringing in new payment method for ratepayers

County will soon able to accept major credit-cards

Alberta was crowned champions in Wheelchair Basketball at Canada Winter Games

Ontario won silver while Quebec took home the bronze medal

Castor’s Covenant Health an employer of choice in Alberta

Covenant Health staff help keep Alberta’s communities strong by creating fulfilling workplaces

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

WATCH: Pet therapy brings calmness to Winter Games athletes

Canada Winter Games in Red Deer continue on until March 2nd

R. Kelly charged with 10 counts of sexual abuse

R&B star has been accused of sexual misconduct involving women and underage girls for years

Child advocacy centre raising funds through Dream Home Lottery

The child advocacy centre in Red Deer uses its resources to help kids all over Central Alberta

Trudeau tells Canadians to listen to clerk in SNC-Lavalin matter

Privy Council clerk Michael Wernick delivered a blunt assessment at the House of Commons justice

Mueller report looming, new attorney general in hot seat

Robert Mueller is required to produce a confidential report to pursue or decline prosecutions

B.C. woman shares story of abuse with church officials ahead of Vatican summit

Leona Huggins was the only Canadian in the gathering ahead of a historic summit at the Vatican

Sylvan Lake’s Megan Cressey misses Freestyle Skiing Big Air podium

Alberta’s Jake Sandstorm captured silver in the men Freestyle Skiing Big Air contest

Why do zebras have stripes? Perhaps to dazzle away flies

Researchers from University of Bristol look into why zebras have stripes

Most Read