What Do Octopuses Eat? Scientists have discovered over 300 species of octopus, which live in the oceans around the world. Octopi vary in size from small ones to huge ones. These organisms are carnivorous meaning they primarily eat meat.
Table of Contents
- What Do Octopuses Eat?
- Octopus Diet By Types
- Finless Shallow Water Octopuses
- How Do Octopuses Hunt?
- When Do Octopuses Eat?
- Key References
What Do Octopuses Eat?
|Type of Octopus||Diet|
|Deep-sea Finned Octopus||Crustaceans, worms, bivalves, and copepods.|
|Giant Pacific Octopus||Crabs, small fishes, clams, snails, and other octopi.|
|Blue-ringed Octopus||Hermit shrimp, small crabs, and small fishes.|
|Common Octopus||Gastropods (such as snails and slugs) and bivalves.|
Octopus Diet By Types
Octopuses are divided into two types, which includes the finless shallow water octopi and the deep-sea finned octopi. A majority of the world’s octopi are categorized under the finless shallow water group.
What Do Deep-sea Finned Octopuses Eat?
Dumbo Octopuses or deep-sea finned octopuses feed on crustaceans, worms, bivalves, and copepods.
The deep-sea finned octopuses are classified under the suborder Cirrata. About 40 species of the members of this suborder have been described, but limited information is available about them.
- They are distinguished by the notable ear-like fins that they possess on either side of their mantles.
- The members of this group of octopuses also have an internal shell. The deep-sea finned octopuses under the genus Grimpoteuthis are referred to as Dumbo Octopuses .
- These octopuses are benthic organisms, and they have their habitats at the bottom of the ocean floor.
Finless Shallow Water Octopuses
Finless Shallow Water Octopuses make up the more significant majority of octopuses, and they are widespread. They are classified under the suborder Incirrina, meaning they lack filaments.
- These octopuses have a soft body, and they lack an internal skeleton. A majority of these octopuses are commonly found in reefs contained in shallow marine waters.
- Examples include Giant Pacific Octopus, Blue-ringed Octopus, and Common Octopus.
What Do Giant Pacific Octopuses Eat?
Giant Pacific Octopuses feed on crabs, small fishes, clams, snails, and other octopuses.
The Giant Pacific Octopus is the largest octopus’ species which lives in dens and caves in the shallow waters of depths of up to 750 meters).
What Do Blue-ringed Octopuses Eat?
Blue-ringed Octopuses diet constitutes hermit shrimp, small crabs, and small fishes.
The blue-ringed octopus (lives in shallow coral reefs).
What Do Common Octopuses Eat?
The common octopus is an active predator that mostly feeds on the gastropods (e.g., snails and slugs) and bivalves.
The common octopus (lives in the temperate, tropical, and subtropical waters and a depth of 100-150 meters).
How Do Octopuses Hunt?
When hunting, octopuses search the ocean floor for their potential prey.
- With the use of their sensors located in each of the suction cups at the bottom of its arms, they can detect smell, texture, and taste of its prey while still being undercover.
- After locating its prey, the octopus attacks to grasp it. The octopus then drags its kill to the den to eat it, in privacy. Studies have shown that all octopus species are venomous, and this has been linked to how they hunt for their prey.
- For instance, when the blue-ringed octopus hunts, it injects venom when biting its prey, which further triggers paralysis.
When Do Octopuses Eat?
Most octopus’ species, with the example of the giant octopus hunt at night meaning this is the time that they will tend to eat. This behavior is facilitated by their excellent vision, which gives them a visual edge over their prey in murky waters.
Some octopus species are diurnal with the example of the blue-ringed octopus, which hunts during the day.
How Often Do Octopuses Eat?
How often octopuses feed depends on several factors which include the time of the day, how hungry they are, and the availability of food. Studies have confirmed octopi are night feeders. Other researches, however, indicate that octopuses can hunt and eat during the day when they are hungry, and a prey presents itself.
What Eats Octopuses?
Where Do Octopuses Fit In The Animal Food Chain?
- Octopuses are essential to the marine animal food chain because they provide food to animals which depend on them to survive, which includes organisms like eels, large fish, some birds, and dolphins.
- Humans catch octopuses while fishing in the ocean and octopuses are considered as delicacies in certain cuisines.
Octopuses also have an instrumental role to play in the ecosystem because they predate on organisms like crabs and lobsters, thus regulating their population.
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