Octopus is one of the smartest animals living; they are notorious for being very crafty and even mischievous specimens for scientists to observe—their ability to easily solve complex puzzles and even seem to have very good memories. There are many octopus species in the wild, and some even can camouflage themselves to either hide from predators or hunt prey.
Their suction cups act as sensors that detect senses of smell, taste, and texture, giving them the ability to hunt for their prey in various ways. What do octopus eat? Different octopuses have their preferred diet ranging from small sea creatures proving their importance in the ocean’s food chain.
Different Species of Octopus With their Unique Diets
In this section, you will know what octopus eat and the different species out there.
We start with the common octopus, which we are the most familiar with; they get this name from being found all across the globe. These active predators hunt at the start of dusk and take advantage of the darkness, which they can easily traverse. Their diet consists mainly of snails, slugs, oysters, mussels, and other bivalves.
These octopuses have beaks that can break the shells of their prey and even have venom to kill their prey entirely, and they drag them into their den to feast safely. They always have to be extra careful as they are being preyed upon by moray eels, seals, sperm whales, and sometimes even birds.
Giant Pacific Octopus
The largest among all species of octopus is the giant pacific octopus thriving in the deep cold waters of the Pacific Ocean; It reaches depths of about 2000 meters underwater. These sea creatures have been recorded to weigh up to 136 kilograms and arms span up to a whopping 9.8 meters.
These big carnivores usually prey on crabs, small fishes, clams, snails, and smaller octopuses. Still, they are not picky eaters because some have been observed to take on small sharks and even sometimes can get their hands on some birds that come across them camouflaging themselves by the seashore. This behavior shows these big octopuses eat anything they could get their hands on, even if it means hunting bigger prey.
These beautiful octopuses are very deceiving for their mesmerizing bright colors. They are among the most venomous octopuses found in coral reefs and tide pools around the Pacific and Indian Oceans.
Their bright blue distinct rings on their body are how you can distinguish this small octopus hiding alongside corals as a form of their camouflage, making it very dangerous for humans to touch corals without exercising caution as these octopuses are very capable of causing harm to humans with their neurotoxins when provoked.
These small and cute octopuses diet consist of small shrimps and crabs but also like catching injured fishes and killing them with their venom. This shows that even the smallest octopuses are not to be messed with and have adapted to rely on a very strong defense mechanism to continue to thrive and populate the beautiful coral reefs of the ocean.
Deep-sea finned Octopus
The deepest dwelling octopus is also called the Dumbo octopus for their very cute resemblance to the Disney character Dumbo, and their fins make it look like big ears that flap to move across the seafloor.
These octopuses are the only known species of octopus to not have ink sacs since they do not need them. Still, they can change colors to avoid being detected by their natural predator, mostly sharks. Living in such deep waters, they are limited to small sea creatures such as crustaceans, worms, bivalves, and copepods.
Octopus is the closest we have to imagine alien life forms as they are one of the smartest and most complicated animals we can observe. However, such an intelligent life form is so far from humans from the evolutionary one that one could only wonder how much more animals can evolve and adapt to reach intelligence close to ours.
Scientists have studied these animals for years, testing their intelligence making them solve puzzles to get food. But, unfortunately, some of them have been observed to seemingly make fun of the scientists by finding different ways to not do what they’re supposed to and still manage to get their food.
Octopus take advantage of their ability to easily hunt at night with their excellent vision. That’s why most species of octopus feed or hunt during the night when there is low visibility for most other sea creatures. This, however, does not mean that they never hunt during the day. On the contrary, when they get hungry and fail to feed during the night, they still find ways to hunt their prey during daylight. The only exception of their species that mostly hunt during the daytime is the blue-ringed octopus.
Their smart nature and cunning make them very good hunters relying heavily on their ability to camouflage themselves; this includes changing color, texture, and the shape of their whole body, even mimicking some fishes to blend in and catch their prey off guard.
Using their suction cups latch on to prey which gives them time to use their beak hidden in the middle of their body and injects venom into their prey to easily paralyze and eat them inside the safety of their den.
What do octopus eat? These animals are notoriously hard to keep inside their tanks as they can find so many ways to get out of their enclosures and free themselves. As with all other sea creatures, octopus plays a role in the whole ecosystem of the ocean and keeps the food chain stable as they control the population of what they feed on, and they are also good food for larger predators and even humans.
Thus, the octopus has been a part of the culinary experience. Still, being such prolific animals, they don't have to worry about being hunted to extinction, but this does not mean we should take this for granted and not take care of these animals.
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