Thursday, 23 October 2014

Top 4 Strangest Cephalopods

Cephalopods are truly fascinating animals and all of them are pretty strange, so choosing 4 of the weirdest was hard. But here they all are: behold my top 4 strangest cephalapods. 

Glass Squid (Chranchiidae)

This family of odd squid contains 60 species, each one weirder than the last. They are so named because a majority of the species are transparent, which helps them evade predators. Distinguishing features include the swollen body and the tiny tentacles, though in some species the third pair are enlarged and may be used to capture prey. Several species have bioluminescent spots on them, which are probably used to cancel out their shadow and therefore make them further camouflaged.
Juveniles live as plankton at the ocean surface, but as they mature they retreat to deeper areas.

Paper Nautilus (Argonauta)

Obviously these creatures aren't really made of paper, but nor are they related to the nautilus. Egg Case Octopus would be a more fitting name, because they're actually an octopus and the 'shell' is a paper-thin egg case. The female secretes the case from 2 specialised tentacles then lays her eggs inside. She will then squirm into the egg case and stay there so that she can watch over her eggs. It was once believed that these surface dwelling octopus used their tentacles as sails and bobbed along like a ship.
Paper Nautilus exhibit extreme sexual dimorphism: the male grows to only 2cm long, compared to the 10cm long female, excluding the egg case. It is thought that the male will mate only once in his life, whereas the female will mate with several males many times.
They catch invertebrate prey using their tentacles, then subdue it with venom from the beak. If the prey has a shell then the octopus will use a hard radula to drill through it to the soft flesh inside.

Dumbo Octopus (Grimpoteuthis)

Not only does this creature come in several whacky colours such as orange, blue, and purple but it also has ear-like flaps just above its eye, giving it the nickname of Dumbo Octopus. These flaps are used to propel the creature forwards. The tentacles are attached by a web of skin, giving it a skirt-like appearance.
Most of the 37 known species live at extreme depths, flapping over the sea bed, searching for invertebrate prey.
Though the average size is around 20cm long, the largest ever found was 1.8 metres!
Dumbo Octopus are found in many parts of the world, and live for 3-5 years.

Mimic Octopus (Thamoctopus mimicus)

Most octopus can change their skin colour and texture, but the Mimic Octopus can actually bend its body into a shape that resembles other creatures. It is known to mimic up to 15 other species! It often mimics poisonous animals to deter predators, or pretends to be a harmless creature so that it can sneak up on prey. Here's a few of the animals that it mimics:
Lionfish - by shaping its tentacles to look like the fish's venomous spines, the octopus can be safe from most predators.
Sea Snake - the octopus changes its hue to the correct colour, then retreats down a burrow. It will then extend two tentacles from the burrow, making them look like the two ends of the sea snake.
Flatfish - by pressing its tentacles together and gliding over the seabed, the octopus can sneak up on prey by pretending to be harmless.
The Mimic's natural colour is a dull light brown. They can grow to 60cm long!
The octopus has been observed showing some rather interesting behavior: clumping its tentacles together to look like human legs, then running across the sea bed! What the octopus is meant to be mimicking in this case is unknown.

I hope that you've enjoyed today's post. If anybody has any suggestions for a Top 5 Strangest list, then please do let me know using the comment feature.

Until next time, keep on the wild side!

No comments:

Post a Comment