Visual Encyclopedia

Octopus

The octopus (/ˈɒktəpəs/ or ~/pʊs/ ) is a soft-bodied, eight-armed mollusc of the order Octopoda. Around 300 species are recognised and the order is grouped within the class Cephalopoda with squids, cuttlefish and nautiloids. Like other cephalopods, the octopus is bilaterally symmetric with two eyes and a beak, with its mouth at the centre point of the arms (which are sometimes mistakenly called "tentacles"). The soft body can rapidly alter its shape, enabling octopuses to squeeze through small gaps. They trail their eight arms behind them as they swim. The siphon is used both for respiration and for locomotion, by expelling a jet of water. Octopuses have a complex nervous system and excellent sight, and are among the most intelligent and behaviourally diverse of all invertebrates.

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