Octopuses Don’t Have Eight Arms

They might have eight tentacles, but not all of them are arms!

Animals
2 min
Noelle Talmon
Noelle Talmon
Octopuses Don’t Have Eight Arms
All stories
Animals

Octopuses possess six arms and two legs; people sometimes mistakenly refer to them as having eight tentacles. The eight-limbed mollusks even have a preference when it comes to which arm they use for eating. Disturbingly, in rare situations, they’ve been known to consume their own arms.

octopus

In a 2008 study released by researchers at Sea Life centers across Europe, scientists revealed that octopuses maneuver and crawl around the sea floor using two limbs located on the rear of their bodies. Octopuses predominantly use the remaining six limbs for feeding and propulsion.

Amazing Arms

Scientists analyzed octopus behavior and observed them using their back legs to push off rocks and the seabed. They used the remaining limbs to swim or propel themselves along the ocean floor.

The study aimed to determine whether the world’s most intelligent invertebrates favor one side of the body over the other, specifically investigating whether they exhibit left or right-handed tendencies.

Following 2,000 observations of common octopuses, scientists concluded that cephalopods are ambidextrous; however, many prefer using their third arm from the front to eat. Researchers found that only octopuses who had a weak eye tended to favor one side of arms. This detail is useful for animal caretakers who can feed the cephalopods on their dominant side.

octopus in hand

What about the suction cups on the underside of octopus arms? They are actually quite powerful. An average octopus has 240 suckers, and the larger ones can hold up to 35 pounds. The sea creatures can operate them individually and use them to move around and catch prey.

Bored Octopuses Eat Their Arms & Legs

Captive octopuses exhibit an alarming behavior when experiencing boredom. In situations where intelligent cephalopods are confined to an environment lacking sufficient stimulation, they have been known to consume their own appendages. A behavior known as autophagy.

octopus

Octopuses also know how to use tools, just like chimpanzees, dolphins, and crows. For example, scientists have observed them stacking up coconut shells to create mobile homes. An octopus named Billye from the Seattle Aquarium was able to open a pill bottle with a snack inside. It initially took her 55 minutes to push, turn, and twist it open, but she eventually learned how to do the task in just five minutes.

And there’s an octopus from New Zealand named Ozy who twisted open a glass jar in just 54 seconds, breaking a record .

Come  Sea  These Clever Critters

The more we study these incredible sea creatures, the more surprising secrets octopuses continue to reveal.

Want to learn more? Swim over to one of our three amazing Ripley’s Aquarium locations  to get up close and personal with these incredible creatures of the deep!

About The Author

Noelle Talmon

Noelle Talmon

Noelle Talmon enjoys covering space oddities and unusual earthly events, such as congress’s UFO hear…

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