These highly intelligent creatures reside in various regions, from the intertidal zone through to sea depths. They have 8 arms with suction cups on the underside. Many do not realise they also have 3 hearts, blue blood and in addition to a central brain they have a small brain in each arm.
Octopus can range in size from around 2.5cm with the largest of the species (giant pacific octopus) once reported to have reached an arm span of 9m weighing 272kg. They use a syphon system to channel water through their bodies to essentially propel themselves forward and are highly dexterous. They are excellent hunters preying on crustaceans and small fish. They use advanced camouflage and can expel ink in defending against predators such as sharks. As with sea stars, they can regrow amputated arms.
Most species mature very quickly and are short-lived, dying shortly after mating. Females tend to their young first. Depositing their fertilised eggs in a den she will protect them until they hatch and will leave only to defend against predators. The last of her energy will be used to circulate water over the brood to provide life giving oxygen to her progeny. She will also time her demise to succumb to starvation and death just prior to her brood hatching, leaving them to carry on the next generation.
The brooding cycle generally lasts for up to several months but some deep ocean species are known to tend brood for over 4 years, and extraordinary feat.
The Octopus is a symbol of self sacrifice and reveals the profound love and duty of care a mother has to her offspring. It naturally reminds me of my own late mother who was devoted to her children above all else. I am blessed to have received this love and recognise its power and influence over my life. I will always be grateful for the love and care shown to me and continue to draw strength from it.
Interestingly there are a few deep sea octopus species that have evolved to exploit bioluminescence. Muscle cells once used to control the suckers have adapted to emit light to direct prey into their mouths, an amazing adaptation.