The animal kingdom is packed with creatures that use strange and unusual methods to trick predators. From finding expert camouflage to playing dead, deceit is a common way to avoid becoming someone’s snack.
But when it comes to trickery, there is one animal that rises above the rest: the mimic octopus.
In honor of April Fools’ Day, we’re sharing the story of a cephalopod that has taken the field of deception to a whole new level. So sit back and learn from the best (and don’t forget to take notes!)
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Halloween is the time of year to celebrate all of the interesting, weird and creepy beings from around the world. The ocean is particularly abundant in unique-looking organisms. Ranging from the deep sea to shallow waters, the ocean is full of creepy creatures with some amazing skills – and here at Ocean Conservancy, we love them all. That’s why, this Halloween, we gathered some of our favorite eerie ocean animals to celebrate this spook-tacular holiday.
Photo: Jonas Gozjak
It’s impossible not to love octopuses. These cephalopods seem to have every evolutionary advantage you could imagine. Here are six of our favorites:
- The first and most obvious (it’s even in their name) is that octopuses have eight arms. Their arms are for much more than just reaching a difficult itch. If threatened, an octopus can sever one of its own arms to get away. The lost limb will grow back completely with all of its function. Because of its nine brains and more than half of its neurons being in its arms, individual arms can solve problems—like opening a jar—independently from the rest of the body. Octopuses also taste things by feeling them with their arms and skin.
- The beak is the only hard part of an octopus’ body, making it an extremely flexible animal. They can fit through anything as long as their beak can. Octopuses use their beaks to crack into their favorite shellfish meals. They can also produce a neurotoxin that paralyzes their prey and enzymes that help break down their food. The only octopus in the world with venom dangerous to humans is the blue-ringed octopus found in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.
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This video of oceanographer David Gallo‘s TEDTalk ‘Underwater Astonishments‘ highlights some of the most amazing ways creatures have adapted to life in the ocean. It is being featured as part of TEDWeekends –- a curated series that introduces a powerful “idea worth spreading” and is a collaboration of TED and The Huffington Post. This week’s TEDTalk is accompanied by an original blog post from David Gallo, along with new op-eds, thoughts and responses from the HuffPost community, myself included.
After watching the video, please read my companion opinion piece, “Preserving Our Underwater World” where I discuss why we cannot take the ocean’s resilience for granted, especially as we are saddled with an utterly uncertain climate future that is changing the ocean’s physical and biological characteristics right before our eyes.
Every year around Mother’s Day I’m reminded of how lucky I am to have both a mother and grandmother who have been there to guide me during the challenging times in life. Recently, this got me thinking that there are probably tons of examples of great mothers in the ocean who are similarly there for their children over the years. So whether you’re a mother yourself or you completely forgot it was that time of year and you need to rush to the store today, take a minute to celebrate Mother’s Day with us and read on to find out more about some awesome ocean mothers:
Manatee mothers show a tremendous dedication to their offspring that starts with nursing within a few hours of giving birth. Their calves are usually weaned within a year, but these mothers typically stick around for up to two years, and are often found right alongside their calves. Mother manatees actively block predators by swimming in between the calf and any potential threat. Furthermore, manatee mothers not only provide their children with nutrition, but also teach them about feeding areas and preferred travel routes.
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