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Ya pasó algún tiempo desde que lo conocí. ¿Por qué digo “lo” ?, dirán ustedes ¡Porque fue el primero y porque fue amor a primera vista!

Un día, como tantos, me sumerjo en el azul profundo y me dejo llevar por la misma consigna de siempre: Aquí estoy, ¡sorpréndeme!

Y sucedió que me llamó la atención una especie de jardín con muchas conchas de diferentes formas y colores, piedrecitas de todos los tamaños, juntas y amontonadas estratégicamente sobre algo. No era la única confundida o sorprendida, todos los peces que iban y venían también lo estaban. Me sentía observada, pero a su vez me atraía lo desconocido. Había pasado un largo rato cuando me di cuenta de que una mirada me penetraba. Entonces, de golpe, esa bola loca de cachivaches se sacudió y como en un pase de magia apareció en todo su esplendor y haciendo su gran acto de escapismo. Tomó coraje, y como un relámpago salió nadando a toda velocidad. Me quedé perpleja, acababa de conocer al Señor Pulpo. ¡Él y su actuación me habían enamorado! Apenas entré en su mundo, me di cuenta de que este animal era diferente, que me generaba muchas ganas de conocerlo y de conocer su vida en el azul profundo. Fueron breves e intensos minutos de conectar con algo más que con un animal, fue el saber que tendría por delante mucho aprendizaje.

Hoy en día tengo varios amigos pulpos. Sí, así como lo escuchan, somos amigos. Y en cada buceo paso a visitarlos en sus casitas con el hermoso jardín que tienen frente a ellas. Ganarse su confianza no es tarea fácil. Para lograrlo, paso cada día y permanezco delante de ellos un buen tiempo para que la desconfianza se disipe. Uno de sus primeros pasos para ese acercamiento es asomarse un poco, pero dejando sus ventosas dentro de la cueva, como una señal de protección frente a una posible situación inesperada. Al transcurrir los días se genera un hábito que nos lleva a ambos a un vínculo. Hoy en día, extiendo mi mano y ellos hacen lo mismo, haciendo contacto con sus tentáculos. ¡¡¡Es nuestro saludo!!! Qué sensación tan placentera, como si saludaras a un amigo y le estrecharas la mano al verlo. Ambos respirando bajo el agua y unidos en un saludo, es una secuencia mágica que no se puede explicar con palabras. Cuando tienes esa conexión con un animal no hay mejor sentimiento en el mundo. ¡Realmente es alucinante!

¿Que les parece si conocemos más de nuestros amigos los Pulpos, de su comportamiento y de sus curiosidades?

Los pulpos son animales muy inteligentes, capaces de resolver problemas complejos, discriminar mediante un condicionamiento clásico y aprender utilizando la observación. A pesar de no ser especialmente longevos y de tener un estilo de vida solitario, son capaces de aprender y mostrar su capacidad cognitiva adoptando diferentes conductas dependiendo del estímulo. Se ha demostrado que se puede trabajar el aprendizaje con ellos utilizando recompensas positivas y consecuencias negativas.

Los pulpos aplican una presión significativamente distinta cuando se disponen a manipular distintos utensilios, presas o, por el contrario, actúan de forma defensiva ante los depredadores. Se ha demostrado que retienen las presas, como es el caso de los peces, con mucha mayor intensidad que cuando manipulan las herramientas que pueden utilizar para su protección y reconocen y diferencian sus propios tentáculos amputados de los de otros miembros de su misma especie. Según uno de los estudios consultados, el 94% de los pulpos no se comía sus propios tentáculos, sino que los transportaba hacia su refugio utilizando su pico.

Son capaces de transportar materiales para elaborar sus propios refugios, aunque tengan dificultad de movimiento y puedan poner en riesgo temporalmente su supervivencia. De este modo, tienen la oportunidad de subsistir más tiempo. También pueden imitar especies de su entorno que son venenosas como una forma más de supervivencia. Estos comportamientos son posibles debido a su capacidad de memoria a largo plazo, el aprendizaje y su memoria refleja defensiva. En estas conductas, la serotonina, una sustancia neurotransmisora que influye en el estado de ánimo, las emociones y los estados depresivos en un gran abanico de animales, tiene un papel muy importante. Es por esta razón que “La declaración de Cambridge sobre la conciencia” incluye al pulpo como un animal capaz de tener conciencia de sí mismo.

A continuación, les contaré algunas curiosidades y características físicas sobre los pulpos:

  • Los pulpos pueden caminar, nadar y agarrarse a cualquier superficie gracias a sus potentes y fuertes ventosas. Para ello necesitan tres corazones (o puntos de bombeo), uno que trabaja exclusivamente en sus cabezas y dos que bombean sangre al resto del cuerpo.
  • Pueden modificar su aspecto físico, al igual que hacen los camaleones, así como su textura, en función del entorno o de los depredadores presentes.
  • Son capaces de regenerar sus tentáculos si éstos son amputados.
  • Los brazos del pulpo son extremadamente flexibles y tienen infinidad de movimientos. Para asegurar su correcto control, se mueven mediante patrones estereotipados que reducen su libertad y permiten un mayor dominio del cuerpo.
  • Su visión es daltónica, es decir, tiene dificultad para discriminar matices rojos, verdes y en ocasiones el azul.
  • Los pulpos tienen alrededor de 500 millones de neuronas, al igual que las que posee un perro y seis veces más que un ratón.
  • Cada uno de sus tentáculos poseen alrededor de 40 millones de receptores químicos, por lo que se considera que cada uno, de forma individual, es un gran órgano sensorial.
  • Al carecer de huesos, el pulpo utiliza los músculos como estructura principal del cuerpo, mediante la rigidez y las contracciones de los mismos. Es una estrategia de control motor.
  • Existe una relación entre los receptores olfativos del cerebro del pulpo y su sistema reproductivo. Son capaces de identificar los elementos químicos producidos por otros pulpos, incluso a través de sus ventosas.
  • Los pulpos son animales semélparos, es decir, generalmente, se reproducen solo una vez y luego mueren. Después de poner sus huevos, la hembra no los abandonará para cuidarlos y oxigenarlos, dejando de comer. En muchas ocasiones, este comportamiento ocasionará su muerte.

Existen más de 300 especies de pulpos alrededor del mundo. Aquí en Eivissa el más popular es Octopus vulgaris. Se pueden observar en casi todas las inmersiones, sobre todo cuando sabemos identificar las evidentes señales de su presencia: las entradas de sus madrigueras son muy características ya que acumulan restos de conchas y piedras marinas. En cuanto a su conservación, aunque sus poblaciones no corren peligro, existen ciertas restricciones y controles en su capturas.

Otra especie bastante conocida es Octopus macropus. Se encuentra en la lista de especies protegidas de Baleares, revisada por el Servicio de Protección de Especies del Govern en 2015. Es una especie muy apreciada por los submarinistas y común durante las inmersiones nocturnas ya que salen a cazar al ponerse el sol.

Por último, les comparto algunas reflexiones del buzo Craig Foster, quien protagonizó el documental ganador de un Óscar “The Octopus Teacher”.

Craig Foster estaba buceando, con el torso desnudo, en aguas extremadamente frías en el extremo sur de África cuando la vio: un pulpo escondido bajo un manto de conchas y piedras. Encantado, comenzó a seguir a esta criatura increíblemente tímida, tratando de demostrar que no era un depredador, quedándose muy quieto en su presencia. Durante semanas ella lo evadió: escondiéndose en su guarida, camuflándose o empujando su cuerpo líquido hacia la grieta más cercana para escapar. Después de 26 días de cortejo casi obsesivo, lo alcanzó y lo tocó.

“A lo largo de los años, otros animales se han acercado para hacer contacto, incluidas nutrias, ballenas, chipirones e incluso tiburones. Han elegido venir a mí y hacer ese contacto, mostrando un momento de confianza y vulnerabilidad. Pero nada se ha comparado con mi vínculo único en la vida con el pulpo”, dice Foster.

“Tu propio papel y lugar en el mundo natural es singularmente el regalo más preciado que se nos ha dado”, reflexiona el buceador. Foster también dice que la mejor lección es que los seres humanos son parte del mundo natural que nos rodea y no simplemente visitantes.

Por eso …

Observa los océanos, fija tu mirada en el mar, siéntelo, respira… ellos nos proporcionan la mitad del oxígeno que respiramos… donde las leyendas cobran vida y la realidad se convierte en fábula. Desconocidos mundos, desconocidas historias, solo custodiadas por un furioso e indefenso mar.

Referencias:

  • Wikipedia
  • com
  • Documental My Octopus Teacher
  • Diario de Ibiza

Octopus

 It has been some time since I met him. Why do I say “him”, you may ask. Because it was the first one and because it was love at first sight!  

One day, like so many others, I plunged into the deep blue and let myself be carried away by the same slogan as always: Here I am, surprise me!  

And it happened that my attention was caught by a kind of garden with many shells of different shapes and colors, pebbles of all sizes, strategically piled together and piled on top of something. I was not the only one confused or surprised, all the fish that came and went were too. I felt watched, but at the same time I was attracted to the unknown. A long while had passed when I realized that a gaze was penetrating me. Then, suddenly, that crazy ball of junk shook itself and as if in a magic show appeared in all its splendor and doing its great act of escapism. It took courage, and like a flash of lightning it swam away at full speed. I was perplexed, I had just met “Mr. Octopus”, he and his act had made me fall in love with him! As soon as I entered its world, I realized that this animal was different, that I really wanted to meet it and learn about its life in the deep blue. They were brief and intense minutes of connecting with more than just an animal, it was the knowledge that I would have a lot of learning ahead of me.  

Today I have several “octopuses friends”. Yes, just as you hear it, we are friends. And on every dive, I stop by to visit them in their little houses with the beautiful garden in front of them. Gaining their trust is not an easy task. To achieve it, I pass by every day and stay in front of them for a long time so that the distrust dissipates. One of their first steps for this approach is to peek a little, but leaving their suction cups inside the cave, as a sign of protection against a possible unexpected situation. As the days go by, a habit is generated that leads us both to a bond. Today, I extend my hand and they do the same, contacting their tentacles. It is our greeting!!!!! What a pleasant feeling, like greeting a friend and shaking their hand upon seeing them. Both of us breathing underwater and united in a greeting, it is a magical sequence that cannot be explained in words. When you have that connection with an animal there is no better feeling in the world, it really is amazing!  

How about knowing more about our friends, the Octopuses, their behavior and curiosities? 

Octopuses are highly intelligent animals, capable of solving complex problems, discriminating through classical conditioning, and learning through observation. Despite not being particularly long-lived and having a solitary lifestyle, they are able to learn and show their cognitive capacity by adopting different behaviors depending on the stimulus. It has been shown that learning can be worked with them using positive rewards and negative consequences.  

Octopuses apply significantly different pressure when they are about to manipulate different utensils, prey or, on the contrary, act defensively against predators. It has been shown that they hold prey, as is the case with fish, with much greater intensity than when they manipulate the tools they can use for protection and recognize and differentiate their own amputated tentacles from those of other members of the same species. According to one of the studies consulted, 94% of octopuses did not eat their own tentacles, but transported them to their shelter using their beaks. 

They are capable of transporting materials to build their own shelters, even if they have difficulty moving and may temporarily jeopardize their survival. In this way, they have the opportunity to subsist longer. They can also mimic species in their environment that are poisonous as a further form of survival. These behaviors are possible because of their long-term memory capacity, learning and their defensive reflex memory. In these behaviors, serotonin, a neurotransmitter substance that influences mood, emotions, and depressive states in a wide range of animals, plays a very important role. It is for this reason that “The Cambridge Statement on Consciousness” includes the octopus as an animal capable of self-awareness.  

Next, I will tell you some curiosities and physical characteristics about octopuses:  

  • Octopuses can walk, swim and cling to any surface thanks to their powerful and strong suction cups. To do so, they need three hearts (or pumping points), one that works exclusively in their heads and two that pump blood to the rest of the body.  
  • They can modify their physical appearance, as chameleons do, as well as their texture, depending on the environment or predators present.  
  • They are able to regenerate their tentacles if they are amputated.  
  • The arms of the octopus are extremely flexible and have infinite movements. To ensure proper control, they move in stereotyped patterns that reduce their freedom and allow for greater body control.  
  • Their vision is color blind, that is, they have difficulty discriminating red, green, and sometimes blue shades.  
  • Octopuses have about 500 million neurons, the same number as a dog and six times more than a mouse.  
  • Each of their tentacles has about 40 million chemical receptors, so each one, individually, is considered to be the large sensory organ.  
  • Lacking bones, the octopus uses muscles as the main structure of the body, by stiffening and contracting them. This is a motor control strategy.  
  • There is a relationship between the olfactory receptors of the octopus’s brain and its reproductive system. They can identify chemical elements produced by other octopuses, even through their suckers.   
  • Octopuses are semelparous animals, that is, they generally reproduce only once and then die. After laying their eggs, the female will not abandon them to take care of them and oxygenate them and will stop eating. On many occasions, this behavior will result in their death.  

There are more than 300 species of octopus around the world. Here in Eivissa the most popular is Octopus vulgaris. They can be observed in almost every dive, especially when we know how to identify the obvious signs of their presence: the entrances of their burrows are very characteristic as they accumulate remains of shells and sea stones. As for their conservation, although their populations are not endangered, there are certain restrictions and controls on their capture.  

Another well-known species is Octopus macropus. It is on the list of protected species of the Balearic Islands, revised by the Species Protection Service of the Government in 2015. It is a very appreciated species by divers and common during night dives as they come out to hunt at sunset.  

Finally, I share with you some thoughts from diver Craig Foster, who starred in the Oscar-winning documentary “The Octopus Teacher”.  

Craig Foster was diving, bare-chested, in extremely cold waters off the southern tip of Africa when he spotted it: an octopus hiding under a blanket of shells and rocks. Enchanted, he began to follow this incredibly shy creature, trying to prove that he was not a predator by standing very still in her presence. For weeks she evaded him: hiding in her den, camouflaging herself or pushing her liquid body into the nearest crevice to escape. After 26 days of almost obsessive courtship, she reached out and touched him.  

“Over the years, other animals have come up to make contact, including otters, whales, squid and even sharks. They have chosen to come to me and make that contact, showing a moment of trust and vulnerability. But nothing has compared to my once-in-a-lifetime bond with the octopus,” Foster says.  

“Your own role and place in the natural world are singularly the most precious gift we have been given,” the diver reflects. Foster also says the best lesson is that humans are part of the natural world around us and not simply visitors.  

So …  

Look at the oceans, fix your gaze on the sea, feel it, breathe it… they provide half the oxygen we breathe… where legends come to life and reality becomes fable. Unknown worlds, unknown stories, only guarded by a furious and defenseless sea.  

Carla villari

References:

Wikipedia
AnimalWised.com
Documentary MyOctopusTeacher
Ibiza newspaper

Octopus

 It has been some time since I met him. Why do I say “him”, you may ask. Because it was the first one and because it was love at first sight!  

One day, like so many others, I plunged into the deep blue and let myself be carried away by the same slogan as always: Here I am, surprise me!  

And it happened that my attention was caught by a kind of garden with many shells of different shapes and colors, pebbles of all sizes, strategically piled together and piled on top of something. I was not the only one confused or surprised, all the fish that came and went were too. I felt watched, but at the same time I was attracted to the unknown. A long while had passed when I realized that a gaze was penetrating me. Then, suddenly, that crazy ball of junk shook itself and as if in a magic show appeared in all its splendor and doing its great act of escapism. It took courage, and like a flash of lightning it swam away at full speed. I was perplexed, I had just met “Mr. Octopus”, he and his act had made me fall in love with him! As soon as I entered its world, I realized that this animal was different, that I really wanted to meet it and learn about its life in the deep blue. They were brief and intense minutes of connecting with more than just an animal, it was the knowledge that I would have a lot of learning ahead of me.  

Today I have several “octopuses friends”. Yes, just as you hear it, we are friends. And on every dive, I stop by to visit them in their little houses with the beautiful garden in front of them. Gaining their trust is not an easy task. To achieve it, I pass by every day and stay in front of them for a long time so that the distrust dissipates. One of their first steps for this approach is to peek a little, but leaving their suction cups inside the cave, as a sign of protection against a possible unexpected situation. As the days go by, a habit is generated that leads us both to a bond. Today, I extend my hand and they do the same, contacting their tentacles. It is our greeting!!!!! What a pleasant feeling, like greeting a friend and shaking their hand upon seeing them. Both of us breathing underwater and united in a greeting, it is a magical sequence that cannot be explained in words. When you have that connection with an animal there is no better feeling in the world, it really is amazing!  

How about knowing more about our friends, the Octopuses, their behavior and curiosities? 

Octopuses are highly intelligent animals, capable of solving complex problems, discriminating through classical conditioning, and learning through observation. Despite not being particularly long-lived and having a solitary lifestyle, they are able to learn and show their cognitive capacity by adopting different behaviors depending on the stimulus. It has been shown that learning can be worked with them using positive rewards and negative consequences.  

Octopuses apply significantly different pressure when they are about to manipulate different utensils, prey or, on the contrary, act defensively against predators. It has been shown that they hold prey, as is the case with fish, with much greater intensity than when they manipulate the tools they can use for protection and recognize and differentiate their own amputated tentacles from those of other members of the same species. According to one of the studies consulted, 94% of octopuses did not eat their own tentacles, but transported them to their shelter using their beaks. 

They are capable of transporting materials to build their own shelters, even if they have difficulty moving and may temporarily jeopardize their survival. In this way, they have the opportunity to subsist longer. They can also mimic species in their environment that are poisonous as a further form of survival. These behaviors are possible because of their long-term memory capacity, learning and their defensive reflex memory. In these behaviors, serotonin, a neurotransmitter substance that influences mood, emotions, and depressive states in a wide range of animals, plays a very important role. It is for this reason that “The Cambridge Statement on Consciousness” includes the octopus as an animal capable of self-awareness.  

Next, I will tell you some curiosities and physical characteristics about octopuses:  

  • Octopuses can walk, swim and cling to any surface thanks to their powerful and strong suction cups. To do so, they need three hearts (or pumping points), one that works exclusively in their heads and two that pump blood to the rest of the body.  
  • They can modify their physical appearance, as chameleons do, as well as their texture, depending on the environment or predators present.  
  • They are able to regenerate their tentacles if they are amputated.  
  • The arms of the octopus are extremely flexible and have infinite movements. To ensure proper control, they move in stereotyped patterns that reduce their freedom and allow for greater body control.  
  • Their vision is color blind, that is, they have difficulty discriminating red, green, and sometimes blue shades.  
  • Octopuses have about 500 million neurons, the same number as a dog and six times more than a mouse.  
  • Each of their tentacles has about 40 million chemical receptors, so each one, individually, is considered to be the large sensory organ.  
  • Lacking bones, the octopus uses muscles as the main structure of the body, by stiffening and contracting them. This is a motor control strategy.  
  • There is a relationship between the olfactory receptors of the octopus’s brain and its reproductive system. They can identify chemical elements produced by other octopuses, even through their suckers.   
  • Octopuses are semelparous animals, that is, they generally reproduce only once and then die. After laying their eggs, the female will not abandon them to take care of them and oxygenate them and will stop eating. On many occasions, this behavior will result in their death.  

There are more than 300 species of octopus around the world. Here in Eivissa the most popular is Octopus vulgaris. They can be observed in almost every dive, especially when we know how to identify the obvious signs of their presence: the entrances of their burrows are very characteristic as they accumulate remains of shells and sea stones. As for their conservation, although their populations are not endangered, there are certain restrictions and controls on their capture.  

Another well-known species is Octopus macropus. It is on the list of protected species of the Balearic Islands, revised by the Species Protection Service of the Government in 2015. It is a very appreciated species by divers and common during night dives as they come out to hunt at sunset.  

Finally, I share with you some thoughts from diver Craig Foster, who starred in the Oscar-winning documentary “The Octopus Teacher”.  

Craig Foster was diving, bare-chested, in extremely cold waters off the southern tip of Africa when he spotted it: an octopus hiding under a blanket of shells and rocks. Enchanted, he began to follow this incredibly shy creature, trying to prove that he was not a predator by standing very still in her presence. For weeks she evaded him: hiding in her den, camouflaging herself or pushing her liquid body into the nearest crevice to escape. After 26 days of almost obsessive courtship, she reached out and touched him.  

“Over the years, other animals have come up to make contact, including otters, whales, squid and even sharks. They have chosen to come to me and make that contact, showing a moment of trust and vulnerability. But nothing has compared to my once-in-a-lifetime bond with the octopus,” Foster says.  

“Your own role and place in the natural world are singularly the most precious gift we have been given,” the diver reflects. Foster also says the best lesson is that humans are part of the natural world around us and not simply visitors.  

So …  

Look at the oceans, fix your gaze on the sea, feel it, breathe it… they provide half the oxygen we breathe… where legends come to life and reality becomes fable. Unknown worlds, unknown stories, only guarded by a furious and defenseless sea.  

Carla villari

References:

Wikipedia
AnimalWised.com
Documentary MyOctopusTeacher
Ibiza newspaper

Octopus

 It has been some time since I met him. Why do I say “him”, you may ask. Because it was the first one and because it was love at first sight!  

One day, like so many others, I plunged into the deep blue and let myself be carried away by the same slogan as always: Here I am, surprise me!  

And it happened that my attention was caught by a kind of garden with many shells of different shapes and colors, pebbles of all sizes, strategically piled together and piled on top of something. I was not the only one confused or surprised, all the fish that came and went were too. I felt watched, but at the same time I was attracted to the unknown. A long while had passed when I realized that a gaze was penetrating me. Then, suddenly, that crazy ball of junk shook itself and as if in a magic show appeared in all its splendor and doing its great act of escapism. It took courage, and like a flash of lightning it swam away at full speed. I was perplexed, I had just met “Mr. Octopus”, he and his act had made me fall in love with him! As soon as I entered its world, I realized that this animal was different, that I really wanted to meet it and learn about its life in the deep blue. They were brief and intense minutes of connecting with more than just an animal, it was the knowledge that I would have a lot of learning ahead of me.  

Today I have several “octopuses friends”. Yes, just as you hear it, we are friends. And on every dive, I stop by to visit them in their little houses with the beautiful garden in front of them. Gaining their trust is not an easy task. To achieve it, I pass by every day and stay in front of them for a long time so that the distrust dissipates. One of their first steps for this approach is to peek a little, but leaving their suction cups inside the cave, as a sign of protection against a possible unexpected situation. As the days go by, a habit is generated that leads us both to a bond. Today, I extend my hand and they do the same, contacting their tentacles. It is our greeting!!!!! What a pleasant feeling, like greeting a friend and shaking their hand upon seeing them. Both of us breathing underwater and united in a greeting, it is a magical sequence that cannot be explained in words. When you have that connection with an animal there is no better feeling in the world, it really is amazing!  

How about knowing more about our friends, the Octopuses, their behavior and curiosities? 

Octopuses are highly intelligent animals, capable of solving complex problems, discriminating through classical conditioning, and learning through observation. Despite not being particularly long-lived and having a solitary lifestyle, they are able to learn and show their cognitive capacity by adopting different behaviors depending on the stimulus. It has been shown that learning can be worked with them using positive rewards and negative consequences.  

Octopuses apply significantly different pressure when they are about to manipulate different utensils, prey or, on the contrary, act defensively against predators. It has been shown that they hold prey, as is the case with fish, with much greater intensity than when they manipulate the tools they can use for protection and recognize and differentiate their own amputated tentacles from those of other members of the same species. According to one of the studies consulted, 94% of octopuses did not eat their own tentacles, but transported them to their shelter using their beaks. 

They are capable of transporting materials to build their own shelters, even if they have difficulty moving and may temporarily jeopardize their survival. In this way, they have the opportunity to subsist longer. They can also mimic species in their environment that are poisonous as a further form of survival. These behaviors are possible because of their long-term memory capacity, learning and their defensive reflex memory. In these behaviors, serotonin, a neurotransmitter substance that influences mood, emotions, and depressive states in a wide range of animals, plays a very important role. It is for this reason that “The Cambridge Statement on Consciousness” includes the octopus as an animal capable of self-awareness.  

Next, I will tell you some curiosities and physical characteristics about octopuses:  

  • Octopuses can walk, swim and cling to any surface thanks to their powerful and strong suction cups. To do so, they need three hearts (or pumping points), one that works exclusively in their heads and two that pump blood to the rest of the body.  
  • They can modify their physical appearance, as chameleons do, as well as their texture, depending on the environment or predators present.  
  • They are able to regenerate their tentacles if they are amputated.  
  • The arms of the octopus are extremely flexible and have infinite movements. To ensure proper control, they move in stereotyped patterns that reduce their freedom and allow for greater body control.  
  • Their vision is color blind, that is, they have difficulty discriminating red, green, and sometimes blue shades.  
  • Octopuses have about 500 million neurons, the same number as a dog and six times more than a mouse.  
  • Each of their tentacles has about 40 million chemical receptors, so each one, individually, is considered to be the large sensory organ.  
  • Lacking bones, the octopus uses muscles as the main structure of the body, by stiffening and contracting them. This is a motor control strategy.  
  • There is a relationship between the olfactory receptors of the octopus’s brain and its reproductive system. They can identify chemical elements produced by other octopuses, even through their suckers.   
  • Octopuses are semelparous animals, that is, they generally reproduce only once and then die. After laying their eggs, the female will not abandon them to take care of them and oxygenate them and will stop eating. On many occasions, this behavior will result in their death.  

There are more than 300 species of octopus around the world. Here in Eivissa the most popular is Octopus vulgaris. They can be observed in almost every dive, especially when we know how to identify the obvious signs of their presence: the entrances of their burrows are very characteristic as they accumulate remains of shells and sea stones. As for their conservation, although their populations are not endangered, there are certain restrictions and controls on their capture.  

Another well-known species is Octopus macropus. It is on the list of protected species of the Balearic Islands, revised by the Species Protection Service of the Government in 2015. It is a very appreciated species by divers and common during night dives as they come out to hunt at sunset.  

Finally, I share with you some thoughts from diver Craig Foster, who starred in the Oscar-winning documentary “The Octopus Teacher”.  

Craig Foster was diving, bare-chested, in extremely cold waters off the southern tip of Africa when he spotted it: an octopus hiding under a blanket of shells and rocks. Enchanted, he began to follow this incredibly shy creature, trying to prove that he was not a predator by standing very still in her presence. For weeks she evaded him: hiding in her den, camouflaging herself or pushing her liquid body into the nearest crevice to escape. After 26 days of almost obsessive courtship, she reached out and touched him.  

“Over the years, other animals have come up to make contact, including otters, whales, squid and even sharks. They have chosen to come to me and make that contact, showing a moment of trust and vulnerability. But nothing has compared to my once-in-a-lifetime bond with the octopus,” Foster says.  

“Your own role and place in the natural world are singularly the most precious gift we have been given,” the diver reflects. Foster also says the best lesson is that humans are part of the natural world around us and not simply visitors.  

So …  

Look at the oceans, fix your gaze on the sea, feel it, breathe it… they provide half the oxygen we breathe… where legends come to life and reality becomes fable. Unknown worlds, unknown stories, only guarded by a furious and defenseless sea.  

Carla villari

References:

Wikipedia
AnimalWised.com
Documentary MyOctopusTeacher
Ibiza newspaper

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