Category: Invertebrates

Underwater Fact 152

The Veined Octopus or Coconut Octopus is the only invertebrate known to use tools, and one of only two octopuses known to exhibit bipedal behaviour by “walking” on two of its legs.

Coconut octopus in Lembeh   © Marco Carnovale

Originally discovered in 1964, Amphioctopus marginatus lives in the tropical waters of the western Pacific Ocean.
The species is commonly known as Veined Octopus, named after the distinct dark brown lines that branch over the mantle and down the arms of the animal. The edges of their arms are often darkened in contrast to the white-blue suckers.

Coconut Octopus   © franklin tom

Another common name for these molluscs is Coconut Octopus, which relates to a very peculiar and interesting behaviour of the species: it carries coconut shells and clam shells across the ocean floor and uses them to build fortresses.

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Underwater Fact 147

One look at a vampire squid, and you’d think it was the product of a cheesy horror/sci-fi movie. Vampyroteuthis infernalis (meaning “vampire squid from hell”) is the sole living member in the Order Vampyromorphida, and shares characteristics of both octopuses (Order Octopoda) and squids (Order Teuthida).

Vampire Squid   © National Geographic

This species first appeared around 300 million years ago and has changed very little since then, making it a living fossil that may represent an ancestral line between octopuses and squids.
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Underwater Fact 146

Octopuses have the largest brains of any invertebrate.

Common Octopus   © ARKive

The fact that these creatures, whose ancestors diverged from the lineage that would lead to ours roughly 500 to 700 million years ago, have developed intelligence, emotions, and individual personalities is challenging our understanding of consciousness itself.

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Underwater Fact 139

The Jellyfish population in Japanese waters is 100 times greater than 20 years ago.

Nomura’s Jellyfish swarm   © Amazing Story’s

Nomura’s Jellyfish are in the same size class as the lion’s mane jellyfish, the largest jellyfish in the world.
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Underwater Fact 136

Cephalopods are incredibly evolved creatures: The Giant Squid has three hearts that pump blue blood. Food travels through its brain before reaching the stomach and they utilise floating bones to detect gravitation for orientation in the dark.

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Underwater Fact 135

Turritopsis Nutricula is a species of Jellyfish that can age backwards.

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Underwater Fact 129

Giant Clams are colourful creatures that have hundreds of simple eyes along the edges of their mantle.

The Tridacnid’s eyes are visible as dark spots along the mantle

The largest species of Giant Clam, the Tridacna, are the largest bivalves ever to have existed in the fossil record.
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Underwater Fact 128

Cuttlefish are known as masters of camouflage because they can change skin colours and textures in an instant to blend into the surrounding environment. They do it so well, it is almost impossible to believe that these animals themselves are colour-blind.

Kings of Camouflage   © Civil Digital

Cephalopods have huge eyes, and much of their brain is dedicated to processing visual information. They use this information to control their disguises through a dense network of nerves running from the brain to the skin.
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Underwater Fact 126

Horseshoe crabs have ten eyes – the largest pair is used only for finding mates.

Horseshoe Crab – Vision   © Sophia Volzke

A quick glance at the horseshoe will show the crab’s two compound lateral eyes.
This is unusual because no other living animal from the Crab’s sub-family, Chelicerate, possesses compound eyes.
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Underwater Fact 123

The sea butterfly is a tiny sea snail that swims by flapping its enlarged foot like wings to elegantly soar through the open ocean.
And if that does not astonish enough, these small creatures have mastered a very unusual technique: They hunt by sneezing.

Limacina helicina   © Alexander Semenov

Thecosomata is the scientific name of these molluscs which are common all over the world’s oceans. This species is pelagic, which means it is distributed in the open ocean, away from the shore and close to the surface. They float with the currents or swim by flapping slowly with two wing-like lobes, or parapodia, which propel this little animal through the sea.
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