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The octopus is a cephalopod, a word derived from the Greek meaning head and feet. Octopuses have two-thirds of the brain in their tentacles.
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Inside their limbs, they have about 50,000 million neurons. The third part of the brain is located in the head and is shaped like a donut. The correct term to use is an octopus, which differs from a polyp, even if the two words are commonly mistaken as synonyms.
Tentacles are extraordinary organs and have different functions. The hind ones are used by the octopus to move on the seabed. While the other six – usually has eight – are used to take food to the mouth, as well as to hunt. The functionality of the octopus tentacles is incredible.
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It is, therefore, possible to say that octopuses have two legs and six arms. They also have remarkable flexibility. They can bend to turn the octopus into a sphere and allow it to roll on the seabed.
They can take an angled position and allow the octopus to slip into any opening, and attach themselves to the protrusions of the rocks.
Also, the tentacles can have a life of their own. If a limb is severed, it can continue to move independently. In some species, it can survive for several weeks. Each tentacle has two rows of suction cups that serve as taste buds. They allow the animal to identify the food.
The males have a particular tentacle where the sperm resides. In mating, it is inserted into the head of the female. At times, during the sexual intercourse, the tentacle used for this purpose and which is called ectocotile detaches, but later on, it grows again.
Some researchers believe that the octopuses voluntarily detach their sexual limb and place it to the female for fear that the latter, after or during the mating, will eat them. Octopuses are, in fact, cannibals. That’s probably why they are solitary!
The female moves away and dies after having waited for the birth of her young. Therefore, also the relationship of these cephalopods with the parents is practically non-existent.
Their intelligence is astonishing. Many octopuses study objects and can understand how they work. For example, a laboratory octopus has figured out how to open a jar to take the food inside.
When researchers made the solution more difficult by putting a jar that opened by simultaneously pushing the lid and turning it counterclockwise, the octopus itself took an hour to figure out how to begin it.