How Smart Are Octopuses?10 Facts About Octopus Intelligence
An octopus is part of the mollusks family. It is a creature with a soft body that has eight limbs. It inhabits coral reefs, the seabed, the open sea, and various parts of the ocean.
As a member of the order of Octopoda with other 300 species, the octopus is grouped within the class of Cephalopoda like cuttlefishes, nautiloids, squids, etc. In addition, like other Cephalopods, they have a beaked mouth and two eyes at the center point of the eight limbs, which made them bilaterally symmetrical.
How Smart Octopus Are?
Out of all invertebrate species, the octopus has the highest brain-to-body mass ratio, alongside the cuttlefish. Hence, it has a complex nervous system in which a part is only localized in the brain and the others distributed. Yet, they are still brilliant. So how can we say that? Here are the facts that tell how smart are octopus and the octopus intelligence:
They have 9 brains in total
Octopuses got nine brains. Besides their central brain, they have eight mini-brains in each arm that allow them to act independently. The central brain sends a higher-level signal to its arms to do movements that it requires. The limbs are controlled by an elaborate nervous system that consists of more than 40 million neurons connected to this animal's suckers.
They do not just use their brains, but also their hands
Like the discussion earlier, each tentacle got its own mini-brains. As a result, the octopus can move independently or in unison. An example is when researchers gave the octopus a jar, and a tentacle was used to hold the item. Then, another figured out how to unscrew the lid while the others were doing other things. How amazing!
They can use tools
Tools usage is quite rare in the animal kingdom, and this is a good sign of learning. A handful of species only like the apes, monkeys, dolphins, and some birds in the vertebrates are known to use tools. Among the invertebrates, only some insects and, not surprisingly, octopuses are on the list.
In the wild, octopuses have been discovered to build dens and use stones to create shields to protect the entrance. They even pile up their found rocks, broken shells, bottle caps, etc., that might be useful to them in the future. An example of how smart an octopus is is a video in 2009 where the octopus collected discarded coconut shells in Indonesia.
They use sneaky disguises
Octopuses have thousands of specialized cells under their skin called chromatophores that help them change their color quickly. Another thing is that they have papillae, the tiny areas in their skin which can retract or expand swiftly for texture change to match their surroundings—what a great way to hide against their predators.
They got great escape techniques
They might be aggressive sometimes, but they often use their disguises, like camouflaging, and sometimes, like mimic octopus, disguise themselves as other animals to escape their prey.
They can solve problems and are very clever
In labs, they are put into tests to solve mazes and complete complex tasks to get food rewards. Astonishingly, they did finish them with flying colors. Also, an amusing way to show octopus intelligence is in demonstrating how clever they are.
Through their mischievous behaviors, they became adept at getting themselves in and out of their containers. According to one lab article, the fish in one tank had just gone missing. So to know what is happening, they set up a tiny video camera and found out that the octopus is the suspect. It opened and closed the lids perfectly to hide the pieces of evidence.
They have the ability to recognize people
Octopuses seemed to be able to recognize other individuals outside of their own kind. This is because vision is essential to their lifestyle, and so their large optic lobes are constantly in use.
Although this is not a unique behavior only to them, there are stories to prove how intelligent octopuses are in this area. One of the reports that we will share is from the biologists in the Seattle Aquarium, where the octopus can recognize the mean one and the nice one despite wearing the same uniform through showing different behaviors to the individuals.
They have great observational skills
Of course, another measure of how smart octopuses are is their superb observational qualities. Tests performed by scientists and biologists show great results like the story in the last fact where they can distinguish individuals who are their ally and who can become their nemesis.
They have the adaptations skills
Wherever you can put these octopuses, they know how to adapt to their surroundings. Be it in the wild or the aquarium inside the lab, and they can learn how to survive. Like the one enumerated in the facts before, an octopus can camouflage in color and skin texture, and some can even perform mimicry.
But you know, even with these skills, they are not stupid. They know when it's time to run away—another excellent example of the octopus intelligence.
They are builders
We know that octopuses can be very antisocial. They like to be left on their own. Thus, they build things from rocks and discarded shells that turn into dens, and much better, an underwater city. This is not just for protection but also for others to leave them alone.
To End Things Here
It's just amazing how smart octopus is and can be, right? Nowadays, scientists keep on giving us facts to know them and other species, which can be vital in years to come, so many people are always fascinated by it.
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