Otherworldly Octopus Hatching Event

06/28/2011

Few creatures are odder than octopuses.  Everything about them is utterly different from humans.  Even fish and most other undersea creature have physical traits that we can relate to, but not octopuses. 

They have eight legs.  They have no backbone, which allows them to squeeze their soft bodies into spaces that an animal with a skeleton could never hope to fit.  They don't even have a recognizable face.  Their eyes are just attached to the top of their body but they have no nose and their mouth is found under their tentacles and holds a parrot-like beak which they use to crush the shells of crabs and other crustaceans.

Octopus AlKok FLICKR

Yet for all that "otherness" octopuses are surprisingly intelligent (some would even claim they are psychic).  They are also very good parents to their young, at least up until the point where their eggs hatch.  At the risk of anthropomorphizing, it's hard to not feel something watching the stunning video below of a female octopus holding vigil over her brood, knowing that she has forsaken eating in order to protect her defenseless eggs and will die shortly after her tiny, alien-like young float off into the ocean to fend for themselves.

 

And what other animal has a name that's odd enough to inspire THIS?

 

Take Animal Planet's "Octo-Quiz" and find out how much you don't know about these strange and wonderful animals.

Photo by AlKok via Flickr Creative Commons.


David Mizejewski is a naturalist with the National Wildlife Federation. His goal is to inspire others to appreciate the wonders of nature. Meet David >
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