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11 Different Types of Octopus (Plus Interesting Facts)

An octopus under water.

Octopuses are some of the most interesting sea creatures and some of the most intelligent animals. Scientists reported that they witnessed the Amphioctopus marginatus type to pick up discarded coconut shells and seemingly used them as mobile phones.

A female giant Pacific octopus named Billye was also seen opening a childproof pill bottle. These eight-footed invertebrates have highly developed nervous systems which explain their capacity to solve puzzles, distinguish shapes and patterns, and even develop short- and long-term memory.


Finless, Shallow-Water Octopus

Finless octopus under shallow waters.

This is one of the two major categories of octopus, the other one being finned, deep-sea octopus. The finless type of octopus usually lives in structures such as coral reefs and have more evolved, complex skin structures than the deep-sea type of octopus.

Finned, Deep-Sea Octopus

Finned octopus in the ocean floor amidst corals.

This is the second major category which all octopus fit in, the other being the finless, shallow-water octopus. The finned octopus live in the deep sea, usually several miles under the ocean.

Specific Species of Octopus

Atlantic Pygmy Octopus

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Like the name suggests, this type of octopus is very small, less than six inches long. Most of that consists of the arms, so the mantle of the octopus is very tiny indeed. In fact, they are among the smallest species of octopus anywhere in the world, weighing only one ounce as an adult.

They change their color because they camouflage themselves to hide from predators, but most of the time, they are a whitish color with brown spots. Of course, when they change their color, they do so rather quickly, so they do not always remain this color for very long.

The Atlantic Pygmy octopus are often found in the Cayman Islands, and they do best in clean, warm water. Because their natural habitat includes shallow water and small fixtures such as coral reefs, they seem to be getting continuously smaller.

Because of their size, they hide well in crevices and on the insides of other items, even soda cans and bottles, and although scientists find them fun to observe, they also find them rather difficult to find due to their size. They appear to be both playful and very intelligent, and they eat a lot of crustaceans, particularly clams.

One of the most interesting facts about these types of octopus is that because they swim in shallow water and often swim into items that are found in the bottom of the sea, humans have had a lot of interaction with them.

As a matter of fact, if you go to websites that play videos of many different things, you might even find a video of this happening. It can be a very interesting video to watch.

Blue Ringed Octopus

Blue-ringed octopus under the sea.

Because of the small blue rings that look like they’re painted around their bodies, the blue-ringed octopus are not difficult to spot. Like other octopus, they can camouflage themselves and turn any color they need to be for protection, but these blue rings always remain.

Most of the colors that they turn are similar to the colors found in coral reefs, which means that no one can ever tell there is an octopus in the vicinity. More often than not, these octopus are yellow, cream, or brown in color, allowing them to blend in very well with everything else found under the ocean.

However, the blue rings make them distinct from other types of octopus and very noticeable, as well. Indeed, the blue-ringed octopus has a very eye-catching body, and they are very impressive to look at.

They are small but powerful creatures, and they are flexible due to the fact that they have no skeleton. Their size usually reaches only eight inches in length, even though their arms have a very wide arm spread, something which is needed to catch their prey.

Moreover, they often swim in the water instead of crawling like other types of octopus, and even though their size is tiny, they can spew out large amounts of venom to paralyze their prey, quite a feat for an animal with such a small body.

Evolution-wise, no one really knows how the blue-ringed octopus came about because they have bodies that are quite different than all other creatures found in the water. They are also very aggressive, staying to fight their prey instead of running away.

In fact, they even fight with other octopus if they are trying to keep food or shelter for themselves. If you ever find yourself in the midst of a blue-ringed octopus, it is best to be careful because their venom is very strong and can cause human beings a lot of physical damage.

California Two-Spot Octopus

California Two-Spot octopus on the ocean floor.

With a very distinct appearance, the California Two-Spot octopus is also called the Bimac octopus. Blue spots of various shades are found around their eyes, and their bodies get to roughly seven inches long, although they have arms that can reach up to 25 feet wide.

Since their body color matches their environment, their overall body color can vary widely. Most of the time, this type of octopus is a grayish color with yellow spots. Because they can camouflage themselves for protection, they can be found in many other colors as well.

The California Two-Spot octopus does best in waters that stay between 65 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit. This is one of the reasons they are so common in areas such as Africa, Mexico, and certain areas of Japan. They love to hide in various crevices, holes, and even rocks, and they are even considered one of the friendliest species of octopus.

They are also very intelligent, being able to take the lid off of an aquarium and escape. As a general rule, this type of octopus trust their ability to blend in, which means they don’t always go into hiding as much as other types of octopus do.

Unlike other types of Octopus, the California Two-Spot is a not dangerous animal, and, therefore, humans have been known to interact with them. Of course, they are very fast swimmers so if you want to get near them, you have to act quickly. In addition, this type of octopus sometimes releases ink when trying to get away, enabling them to get away without being noticed.

Caribbean Reef Octopus

Caribbean Reef octopus amidst corals.

With a beautiful blue-green color, the Caribbean Reef octopus is stunning to look at. Since they can camouflage themselves, they can also have various shades of brown throughout their bodies. They are very similar to the Common octopus, and if you’re curious how to tell the two animals apart, simply look at their eyes.

The Caribbean Reef octopus has eyes with circles of dark colors around them. The body of this octopus is roughly five inches long, but it has an arm span of about 23 inches. In fact, due to their environment, the Caribbean Reef octopus’ size varies quite a bit, which means its overall size is difficult to speculate.

This type of octopus is considered a medium-sized animal, with a weight of roughly three pounds. They have a very large head, arms that are very thick, and they move much more slowly than other types of octopus. Because they can lie flat to blend in with their surroundings, they often look like a small parachute laying on the ground.

They are found in areas such as the Atlantic Ocean, the Bahamas, and of course, the Caribbean area. They eat mostly crustaceans, and they spend most of their nights looking for food. They also do not live very long, and if you look at them under any type of lighting, you’ll notice that they actually glow in the dark.

Common Octopus

Common octopus in blue waters.

The Common octopus varies greatly in size. They can range from 12 to 36 inches in length and can weigh anywhere between seven and 20 pounds. Because of this variety, the Common octopus is often confused with other types of octopus. If you look at their eyes, they can seem too big for the octopus’ body, and their heads are quite large as well.

They also come in such a wide selection of colors that they can blend in anywhere they live, meaning they can be almost any color when you find them. They live in both temperate and tropical waters, and they have been found in every ocean on the planet.

Common octopus has been studied more than any other type of octopus, and they have been proven to be extremely intelligent. The tasks they are able to perform include getting food out of lobster traps, distinguishing between various shapes, determining the sizes of various objects, and they can even tell how bright something is.

They are also extremely good at hiding, even creating little shelters underwater that they often form a fortress around. They eat mostly crustaceans, including crayfish, crabs, and mollusks, and they are only in existence for one to two years.

East Pacific Red Octopus

Closeup shot of an East Pacific Red octopus.

The East Pacific Red octopus is very small in size and weighs only five ounces. Their body is three times smaller than the length of their arms, and as adults, their overall length can get up to approximately 20 inches.

In addition, there is no way to tell the difference between the males and females of the species just by looking at them, and they turn so many colors that it is possible for you to be staring at this type of octopus and not even realize that’s what it is. They change into a variety of colors, even though their primary color is red, and these can include brownish-red, white, yellow, and brown.

Found frequently along the West Coast reaching up to Alaska, the East Pacific Red octopus usually go no more than 300 feet under the water, although they have been known to go deeper if they are in need of food. They are less picky than other octopus when it comes to food, eating mostly clams, crabs, scallops, and some types of fish.

They also have rather odd eating habits, as they take hold of their food and go back to their “home” to consume it. If they want more food afterward, they simply go back out in the water and search again. In fact, they often stack the shells of their food outside of their living environment, which is sometimes the only way to tell that there is an octopus nearby.

Mimic Octopus

Mimic octopus on the ocean floor.

With an overall size of about two feet when fully grown, the Mimic octopus gets its name from the fact that they can copy the behaviors of the animals around them. They do this to make their capture a lot more difficult. They are usually brown and white in color, enabling them to blend in regardless of their surroundings, and they consist of both stripes and spots to blend in even better.

These octopuses are found in the South East Asia area, and they were only discovered in the late 1990s. Some experts believe this type of octopus might be found in other habitats, but no one knows for sure as of yet. They prefer muddy and warm waters, and they seem not to like other animals very much.

The animals that they mimic include eel, starfish, jellyfish, and stingrays. They both copy these animals’ movements and turn their bodies to the colors of those animals, enabling every inch of them to look like the original animal.

The Mimic octopus is very intelligent, and they are one of only a few octopuses that makes burrows and tunnels on the ocean floor. They use these tunnels and burrows to hide from predators and also to follow them discreetly until the time comes to attack them.

Because they mimic other animals and are therefore protected from those animals’ prey, this means that they have access to a lot of different food sources. They eat everything from crabs and fish to worms and other crustaceans, and they have also been known to participate in cannibalism.

Because they are found mostly around the bay area of Malaysia, the Mimic octopus have access to a lot of different food sources, making their diet quite varied.

North Pacific Giant Octopus

North Pacific Giant Octopus in blue water.

This octopus is the large species in the octopus world. It can get as long as 15 feet in length and nearly 150 pounds, and its overall size depends on its environment and several other factors. Of course, these sizes are numbers that have been officially recorded, but some experts think that it is very possible to find other North Pacific Giant octopus that is a lot bigger.

When it comes to its camouflage ability, it is able to change its pigmentation a lot easier than other octopus species, mainly because it is unable to move as quickly as other octopus or fit into small areas and therefore, they use camouflage to blend in so that their predators do not detect where they are.

The North Pacific Giant octopus can be light or dark, brown, or red, but they can be any color because their habitat directly affects what color they are. Due to their ability to flatten out, they often look like a tan starfish when lying on the ocean floor, and they have long, thick arms and very large heads.

Their arms contain suction-type devices, and the center of their body is spherical in shape, which enables them to move a lot more easily and quickly through the water.

When it comes to their personalities, very little is known about the North Pacific Giant octopus. They do seem to have the ability to learn things at all times, and they also become spooked very easily.

Since they often are unable to move as quickly as other octopus, they tend to use their ink a lot more to get away from predators, and the ink they do produce tends to be darker and more noticeable in color. They are mostly found roughly 200 feet under the North Pacific Ocean, but they will move in even deeper if they need food or shelter.

Seven-Arm Octopus

Of all of the species of octopus, this octopus is different in that there are only seven arms visible and not eight. They actually do have an eighth arm, but it is not located with the rest of them. Instead, it is found below the eyes and is actually a small sac.

The look of having only seven arms is only a characteristic of the males of the species. The Seven-Arm octopus grows to about 13 feet and weighs roughly 150 pounds, so it is a quite large octopus. It is also a fairly new species, only been discovered in the early 2000s, where it was captured accidently in the New Zealand area and therefore discovered.

Like other types of octopus, the Seven-Arm octopus is very intelligent and can adapt easily to almost any environment that they’re a part of, and they can hide in some very small spots due to their flexibility.

The octopus is sometimes found in the nets of fishing boats that are out there to find other types of fish. One other interesting characteristic is that the females usually die before their eggs are hatched because the process of laying the eggs is so exhaustive.

Interesting Facts about the Octopus

Octopus Do Not Live Very Long

Octopus actually have very short life spans. In fact, most of them live no longer than a year, and even if you get them neutered, which would be a challenge in itself, they won’t last any longer than a gerbil or hamster does. The males typically die a few weeks after mating, and the females die a few weeks after hatching their eggs.

This is because they stop eating while waiting for those eggs to hatch, so the females end up starving themselves to death while waiting for that to happen. For these reasons, octopus generally do not make very good pets.

Octopus Propel Themselves Three Different Ways

An octopus propelling itself through the water.

The octopus essentially has three different “gears” used when trying to propel itself through the water. First, it can actually walk slowly across the ocean floor if it wants to. Octopus do this when they do not feel threatened or feel like they can take their time.

Second, the octopus can use its body and arms to swim through the ocean, which it does when it feels a little more in a hurry than usual. Octopus are actually very good swimmers.

Third, if the octopus feels impelled to go even faster, it can expel a bit of water from its body cavity to speed away quickly. This often results in a blob of ink also being expelled, and the octopus uses this method of traveling whenever a predator is after it, such as a shark.

Not One, But Three Hearts

One characteristic of an octopus that many people are unaware of is the fact that it has three hearts inside its body. The first heart pumps blood through the body of the octopus, which includes all of its arms, and the second and third hearts pump blood through its gills.

The gills are important because they allow the octopus to breathe underwater. Another interesting note regarding the heart and blood of an octopus is the fact that hemocyanin is the main component of its blood. Since hemocyanin incorporates atoms of copper instead of atoms of iron, the octopus has blue blood, not red.

The Octopus is an Extremely Intelligent Animal

Octopus looking out from the aquarium.

Octopus is one of only a handful of animals that can recognize patterns, demonstrate basic problem-solving skills, and prove that it has some type of memory. This intelligence, however, is very different than the human type of intelligence.

This is due to the fact that the majority of its neurons are actually located along the length of its arms instead of its brain. There is also no proof that octopus can communicate with one another, but there is a reason that so many horror movies center around a person-eating octopus, and that is because of their intelligence.

Check out our article “18 Different Types of Eels” and discover that not ALL eels are shocking!