Blue-ringed octopuses deliver painless bites of paralyzing, deadly venom. Even humans aren't safe. The striking creatures are so good at what they do they're counted among the deadliest animals in the sea.
They're really good at predicting the outcome of soccer matches, or so some sports lovers think. Messi (pictured) and Paul II are just two octopuses whose supposed prognostication skills have been hailed by European fans.
In South Korea, a young man was accused of murdering his girlfriend, even though he insisted she died of natural, octopus-related causes. (She choked to death after eating a live one, he said.) The man was convicted but won acquittal on appeal.
Eating live octopuses is a culinary thing, especially in South Korea.
Before you dive in, though, you may want to consider that "octopuses experience the world consciously," according to one anthropologist. Or, to put it another way, when you take a bite out of a still-squirming octopus, it knows.
Should you ever lunch on a live octopus or wear a dead octopus cape, you may notice that the doomed cephalopod bleeds blue. This is because octopuses have copper (and not red-skewing iron) coursing through their system.
The maternal instinct to protect supersedes an octopus's own need to eat. One octo mom was observed to be on egg duty for 53 long, lonely months. When its job was done, it died. (And what noble deed have you done today?)
University of California, Berkeley, researchers found that when threatened, coconut octopuses "lift up six of their arms and walk backward on the other two." In that mode, they can sneak away from dicey situations faster than they can crawl.
Sure, a lizard can regrow its tail, but asScientific American points out, that regrown tail is usually an inferior tail. Not so with an octopus' regrown tentacle. That sucker is, per the American, "basically as good as new."
Not to be catty, but you'd need multiple ones, too, if your main one was the size of a walnut. That dig aside, octopuses are regarded as brainy sea creatures, meaning they're smart and possessed of a network of brains found in their tentacles.
Octopuses are famous for their uncanny ability to blend in -- "thousands of color-changing cells" in their skin give them the ability to quickly disappear in plain sight. They share this insta-camo superpower with squid and cuttlefish.
In "Finding Dory," Hank the octopus is called out by Dory the blue-tang fish: "For a guy with three hearts, you're not very nice." In Hank's defense, his anatomy isn't designed to make him cuddly; the hearts, plural, are there to pump blood to all of his far-flung body parts.
Published:Caption:Joal RyanPhoto:Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
They have creepy eyes
As we previously noted, octopuses have the power to take on the colors of their surroundings. But here's the funny thing: They're colorblind. Weirdly shaped pupils, however, allow them to read their environment and adjust their look accordingly.
It's the female octopus who does the dirty deed, strangling the male with its tentacles, according to Scientific American scientists who've witnessed disturbing scenes like this: "The female enveloped his [motionless] body with her web and carried him to what appeared to be her den."
Since 1952, when a pair of brothers (and fish-market owners) tossed an octopus onto the hockey ice before a Detroit Red Wings playoff game, Motor City sports fans have considered the cephalopod a good-luck charm.