Introducing our two new Octopuses!


10th May 2018

Last week we received two very special new additions to our Aquarium: a common octopus and a giant Pacific octopus!

The Common Octopus, who does not yet have a name, lives in our Plymouth Sound exhibit and has settled in fantastically, and can be seen stretching at the front of the tank or huddling in its cave for a daytime nap. Our Common Octopus in the Plymouth Sound area is fed at 15:00, so be sure to come along and say hello!

Our Giant Pacific Octopus came all the way from Canada and has now settled in to our Biozone area where it loves to interact and play with our biologists! They keep both our octopuses enriched with toys and tickles, which is massively important due to their enhanced intelligence. Our biologists give them toys such as jars to unscrew (with a tasty treat inside), pipes to crawl through or even a rubber duck to play with! After playing, our biologists offer them a tasty treat such as crabs, prawns or mussels.

Last week we held a naming competition for our Giant Pacific Octopus on Facebook, and we received a huge number of comments with some fantastic and creative names for us to choose from! Our panel of biologists and divers went through each and every entry and eventually voted on a favourite. We loved the names Doughnut, Inky, Cthulhu and Stretch, but overall the name ‘Neptune’ came out on top! So next time you come to visit, be sure to say hello to Neptune the Giant Pacific Octopus. You can see Neptune in all its glory during our 1:30 Octofactor talk and feed.

Octopus Facts:

  • Octopuses have a very particular brain, as it’s shaped like a doughnut! Their brain is wrapped around their throat and contains around 30% of their brain cells, the other 70% or so is shared out in each of their arms, indicating that each arm has its own independent control.

 

  • Octopus ink contains dopamine, a chemical associated with the reward centre in our own brains. Why Octopus ink contains this is unknown (perhaps it confuses predators with the euphoria?) but discovering this could help us unravel the mysteries of our own brains.

 

  • Octopuses are considered to be solitary and asocial creatures, but last year species of common Sydney Octopuses were found in numbers of 10 – 15 in an area off East Australia partaking in complex social interactions like foraging, mating, and fighting.

 

  • There are 289 species of Octopus, with the Giant Pacific Octopus being the largest (and the highest recorded size of it being 9 metres across!).

 

  • Octopus appendages are not technically called tentacles, but arms. Arms have suckers all the way along, and tentacles only have suckers on the end (octopus cousins; squid and cuttlefish, have two of them, as well as 8-10 arms).

 

  • On the subject of technical terms, there is no such word as octopi, the plural is simply octopuses.

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