- Common Name: Octopus
- Order: Octopoda
- Total Species: 300
- Diet: Meat (carnivorous)
- Range: All Oceans Worldwide
- Size: Small as 1 inch, Large as 14 feet.
21 Octopus Facts for Kids
- An octopus is a mollusk that has eight limbs and is a member of the Octopoda order.
- Octopus is a common name used for about 300 described species.
- The Octopoda order was coined by English biologist William Elford Leach in 1818.
- There are two suborders of the Octopoda order, and they are the Incirrina and Cirrina.
- Octopuses are carnivores that eat meat. Common prey includes fish, crabs, crayfish, shrimp and other mollusks.
- Octopuses can rapidly alter their soft bodies and squeeze into small gaps between rocks and coral.
- An octopus has a two part beak for its mouth.
- Almost all octopus species have a very short lifespan, and some species only live for about six months.
- The size of an octopus greatly varies by species. They can be as short as an inch or as long as 20+ feet.
- A threatened octopus can eject a black inky fluid from their bodies, reducing visibility and confusing a predator or threat.
- A common myth is an octopus’s limb is called a tentacle. From a scientific point of view, they are arms.
- An octopus can grow a new limb if one is lost.
- An octopus has three hearts. One heart is used to pump blood between its organs. The other two are used to pump blood through its gills.
- The giant Pacific octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini) is the largest living species of octopus. Their average adult weight is 33 pounds. The largest recorded size of a giant Pacific octopus was 156 pounds.
- The star-sucker pygmy octopus (Octopus wolfi) is the smallest living species of octopus. Their average adult weight is less than one gram. They have an average length of only one inch.
- The mimic octopus (Thaumoctopus mimicus) is known for its ability to mimic other marine animals. They can mimic other dangerous marine animals, like eels, lionfish and sea snakes.
- The seven-arm octopus (Haliphron atlanticus) has been observed having a complex relationship with jellyfish. They appear to work together in capturing prey and protection each other.
- The greater blue-ringed octopus (Hapalochlaena lunulata) has a very strong venom that can be fatal to humans.
- The common octopus (Octopus vulgaris) can be found in virtually every ocean around the world.
- The veined octopus (Amphioctopus marginatus) has been recorded using tools. They will gather up seashells and coconut shells and build themselves a shelter.
- Octopuses appear to be very intelligent and most likely the smartest invertebrate. Experiments have shown they can store both short and long-term memories.
A picture of the common octopus (Octopus vulgaris).
Credit: Albert Kok
A picture of the giant Pacific octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini).
Credit: Alexander Semenov / Flickr
A picture of a the star-sucker pygmy octopus (Octopus wolfi).
Credit: Moorea Biocode
Additional Resources about the Octopus
- Octopuses (Octopoda) – Discover more amazing octopus facts and information on the National Wildlife Federation website.
- List of Octopus Species – View a list of octopus species and learn about specific octopus species on the ADW website.
- Octopus – Britannica – Read more interesting facts about the octopus on the Britannica website.