Common octopus, Octopus vulgaris (General information – biology – conservation)

Video credit: Glenda Vélez Calabria (Colombia)      Review: Abdel Rahman El Gamal


This video was taken in mundo marino and te mostramos lo que pasa en el fondo, Colombia

Introduction: The common octopus, Octopus vulgaris is found worldwide in tropical and semitropical waters and occur from the coastline to as deep as 200 m. The species is found in a variety of habitats, such as rocks, coral reefs, and grass beds. Octopus vulgaris lives for 12 to 18 months. O. vulgaris grows to a maximum total length of 1.2 m in females and to 1.3 m in males; maximum weight 10 kg while average common weight is about 3 kg.

Commercial value: Their commercial value is their utilization as food as well as in aquarium trade. In addition to being commercially important, this species is also one of the most commonly studied cephalopods. They are commonly collected in non-baited octopus pots whether made of clay, plastic or PVC.

Feeding habits: Even though common octopus feeds on variety of prey organisms, crabs, crayfish, and bivalve mollusks are their preferred food. The strong peak which the octopus has is used to punch a hole in the hard shell of molluscs and enable the octopus to reach the fleshy contents of their prey. O. vulgaris are out hunting during the day.

Reproduction: A female octopus may produce between 100,000 and 500,000 eggs little longer than 2 mm in length. Spawning may extend up to 1 month. The octopus hatchlings stay in the pelagic phase for 45-60 days. Afterwards, they settle out and begin their bottom dwelling life.

Camouflage: common octopus blends very well with its surroundings which make it difficult to spot them. This helps them to catch the passed-by prey and in the same time in the avoidance of their predators. Moreover, the octopus secrets in its saliva a nerve poison that paralyzes of their prey.

Conservation: Because of the high intelligence of common octopus, they have been –until 2013- the only invertebrate animal protected by the Animals Act 1986 in the UK; before this legislation was extended to include all cephalopods.

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