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  • Rishith Saraf

Tentacles or Tentickles

Close your eyes and picture an octopus in front of you, you would most probably see a creature with an oval head, two extremely cute eyes, and eight tentacles. You might see Hank the octopus from Finding Dory or Dave from the Penguins of Madagascar movie.

An octopus is a soft-bodied, eight-limbed mollusk. It is bilaterally symmetrical with two eyes, and a beaked mouth, located at the centre of the eight limbs (commonly called tentacles). The soft body can alter the shape of the octopus. This ability helps the octopus to squeeze through small gaps. They trail their eight tentacles behind them as they swim.

Octopi are extremely intelligent. This has been proved by conducting maze and puzzle-solving. Seven octopuses were first trained to open an L-shaped container to retrieve food. After learning the initial task all animals had to first retrieve an L-shaped container, presented at the same orientation, through a tight-fitting hole in a clear Perspex partition. This required the octopi to perform both pull and release or push actions. After reaching the criterion the animals advanced to the next stage of the test, which would be a different consistent orientation of the object at the start of the trial, an opaque barrier, or a random orientation of the object. All octopuses were successful in reaching the criterion in each of the tasks. At the onset of each new task, the performance of the animals dropped, shown as an increase in working times.

They spent their leisure time playing. They have been seen releasing toys and water bottles repeatedly in circular pathways and catching them. They use observational learning techniques.

Octopi can camouflage. They camouflage to hunt or to avoid being hunted (that is to hide from predators). They can do this as they have several different chromatophores (cells that decide the colour of the skin) ranging from 2-4. The colour change is used to warn or communicate with other octopuses. Octopuses can create confusing patterns with waves of dark coloration. It is known as “ passing clouds”. The mantle can take a spiky appearance like algae.

There are numerous species of octopus. They are said to be one of the most sophisticated and magnificent species. Although scientists and researchers continue to study them, there is still plenty about them that we don't know. These species have fascinated many people and continue to do so.


  1. Morris, Neil. “Fantastic Encyclopedia” Parragon Publishing, Queen Street House, 4 Queen Street, Bath BA1 1HE, UK: Parragon Books, 2012. Print.

  2. Richter, Jonas; Hochner, Binyamin; Kuba, Michael.”Push or Pull? Octopuses Solve a Puzzle Problem” National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information.22nd March, 2016. Web. 4th July, 2022.< >

  3. n.a.”octopi” Vlad Mel.n.a.Web.4th July,22,.<>

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