The curled Octopus is also known as the lesser octopus. Like most octopuses it can release an inky dark fluid from its body when it feels threatened. The fluid makes the water dark which confuses and disorientates predators allowing the octopus to escape from danger.
It belongs to the cephalopods (meaning 'head-footed'), a group of bilaterally symmetrical molluscs that contain the octopuses, squid and cuttlefish. It is probably the most intelligent of all invertebrates. Octopus derives from the Greek word for 'eight-footed'.
It is about 50cm across the widest span of its arms and is identifiable by the single row of suckers on its arms in contrast to the common octopus which has two. It has a yellowish or reddish coloured body with rusty brown patches and a whitish underside. The skin is covered with very fine, closely-set granulations interspersed with wart-like bumps. Eight powerful tentacle arms are used for catching prey and for crawling on surfaces. The head is large and has a beaked-shaped jaw and two big eyes. The curled octopus is an active predator, feeding mainly on crustaceans, molluscs and other invertebrates as well as fish.
*When feeding on crabs, the curled octopus immobilises its prey by puncturing its eye or boring the shell carapace and injecting toxins into the body of the crab which paralysis it. The digestive enzymes contained in the saliva of the octopus break down the muscle within the crab's body, allowing the carapace to be easily removed.
Photo by Sean Ferris.
Latin name: Eledone cirrhosa
Habitat: Rocky coastal areas
Distribution: From Norway South to the Mediterranean.
Size: Approx 50cm
This has some fantastic photos of the curled Octopus.
*Grisley, M.S., Boyle, P.R. and Key, L.N. (1996) Eye puncture as a route of entry for saliva during predation on crabs by the octopus Eledone cirrhosa (Lamarck). Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 202: 225 - 237. http://www.abdn.ac.uk/marfish/pdfs/Grisley1999.pdf
The curled octopus is COAST’s mascot for the proposed Arran Community Marine Reserve (Arran South Marine Protected Area). This is our best attempt at an octopus design so far. Can you do better? If so send us your designs by the end of this month and we may use it!