This Octopus has been under Keith’s dock for the last 3 days. That means (let’s call her she) she has come into and up the Newport River almost to Core Creek.They are often seen on the coast here but it may be pretty unusual for them to be this far inland.
She is an octopus vulgaris or Common Octopus. She is part of a group of Mollusks called Cephalapods who are among the most evolved and intelligent invertebrates. Through giving them complex tasks to solve we have learned that they have both long and short term memories and learn quickly. Some people who work with them in captivity think they may even like to play tricks on us. Their eyes are similar to ours, they have a cornea, lens and retina. Some octopus see color but not the Octopus vulgaris.
For protection they can release a purple-black ink when they feel threatened for camouflage and to temporarily destroy the predator’s sense of smell. They are short-lived. The males generally die shortly after mating and the females usually die after they have protected their eggs for about a month during which their appetite is reduced. An article in Science News describes a gland, the optic gland, that seems to dictate when they die. Their mouth is like a parrot’s beak and is found where the legs come together. It is the only rigid part of their body. One of their fascinating characteristics is their ability to change the texture and color of their mantle.
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