Discover 7 Amazing Octopus Species

Octopuses have almost no bones, and more than 86% of their body is muscle.
Discover 7 Amazing Octopus Species
Cesar Paul Gonzalez Gonzalez

Written and verified by the biologist Cesar Paul Gonzalez Gonzalez.

Last update: 03 May, 2023

Octopuses have bodies that are made up of a lot of muscle and no bone. All octopus species are characterized by eight tentacles, a long head, and three hearts. They’re related to squids and cuttlefish, and are considered to be among the oldest and most successful species on Earth.

They’re marine predators that propel themselves through the water like torpedoes. They have a siphon that allows them to draw water under pressure, which gives them mobility and buoyancy. Although they may seem a bit boring, the diversity of marine environments allows a wide range of species to exist. Be sure to read on and you’ll see how amazing they are!

7 amazing octopus species

1. Mimic octopus (Thaumoctopus mimicus)

Discovered in Indonesia, this species of octopus has the ability to change its coloration and act like a different animal. This is thanks to the fact that it has great control of its tentacles, with which it manages to imitate several species.

Its repertoire includes different types of fish, snakes, anemones, crabs, and starfish. Moreover, all these imitations are of venomous animals. It does this as a defense mechanism, so as not to be eaten; it pretends to be a venomous species and escapes from danger.

Octopus species.
Thaumoctopus mimicus.

2. Atlantic pygmy octopus (Octopus joubini)

This octopus is one of the smallest species. It’s only about 13 centimeters (around 5 inches) in length and is very adept at hiding. It enjoys eating mollusks and reusing shells.

Although this animal isn’t territorial, there’s always a leader octopus that lives in the best or most spacious places. They live together but don’t mix.

This small invertebrate has been quite a headache for scientists. Because it can change its coloration and its similarity to other octopuses of the same size, it’s easy to confuse it.

3. Dumbo Octopus (Grimpoteuthis)

This genus contains different species of octopuses that stand out for their peculiar fins. As you’ll see in this article, it looks as if it has very long ears, and, for this reason it was given the nickname Dumbo, taken from the traditional Disney children’s movie.

This invertebrate usually lives at a depth of 7000 meters (4.3 miles). It’s considered a rare species, despite being part of the megafauna of deep marine habitats.

4. Cirroctopus hochbergi

Found only in northeastern New Zealand, they live at 800 to 1070 meters (2600 to 2500 feet) depth. This species has been very little studied due to its very small population, so it’s in a critical state of extinction.

Although this animal has no use for humans, it’s caught in fishing nets by accident. It’s because of this and the damage to its habitat that its population is at imminent risk of disappearing.

5. Big blue octopus (Octopus cyanea)

Among the octopus species, there are some that present chromatophores, which are cells specialized in changing the coloration of the body. The blue octopus, also called day octopus, has this ability.

The natural environment of this invertebrate is usually surrounded by vegetation, different types of terrain, color, and texture. So, this octopus is able to change its coloration in such an amazing way that it perfectly matches that of its environment.

6. California two-spot octopus (Octopus bimaculoides)

If you ever wanted to have a pet octopus, but didn’t know which one to choose, this octopus may be your best choice. Being one of the friendliest octopus species out there, it’s believed to make a good pet. Remember that the group they belong to, the cephalopods, are among the invertebrates with the most complex brain.

As its name says, its distribution ranges from California to the Baja California peninsula. They like warm, rocky and shallow waters, so it is easy to find them near the beach. It is not a dangerous species, so if you encounter it, at most it will fill you with a little ink and run away.

7. Greater blue-ringed octopus (Hapalochlaena lunulata)

It’s not all pretend and escape, some octopuses have the ability to attack with venom. The greater blue-ringed octopus is a species that warns its enemies by means of iridescence. Although they’re usually docile, their venom is deadly even for humans. In fact, it’s one of the most toxic marine animals around.

This invertebrate fuses its venom with its saliva, so it enters through its bite.

Despite its size, 10 centimeters (4 inches) approximately, it’s very dangerous to approach or touch it. Also, this species prefers shallow environments, so you may encounter it on a trip to the beach. If you don’t having meeting one, then don’t look in holes or caves, as they tend to hide there. Remember, they won’t attack unless threatened.

Octopus species.
Hapalochlaena lunulata.

Are octopuses threatened?

With the exception of species caught by accident, such as Cirroctopus hochbergi, octopuses are sought after for human consumption because of the quality of their meat. This is because they have 20% more protein and 50-100% less fat and carbohydrates than regular meat.

Fisheries only focus on two main species, the common octopus (Octopus vulgaris) and the red octopus (Octopus maya). Of these two, neither is potentially endangered.

However, octopuses are an important part of the diet of other fish, sharks, marine mammals, birds, and other cephalopods. Because of this, increases or decreases in octopus populations can cause changes in other species.

At this point, octopuses aren’t yet endangered, but could be. Currently, there has been much discussion about the growth in consumption of this species, which puts it at risk. Moreover, in recent analyses of their population, warning signs have been found that these animals could disappear.

Unfortunately, human consumerism is something that can’t always be avoided. Whether for better or for worse, the economy rolls under a scheme of infinite exploitation of resources. This has already brought several species to the brink of extinction, despite warnings. So, we’re possibly facing the beginnings of yet another disappearance.

It might interest you...
How Do Octopuses Change Shape and Color?
My Animals
Read it in My Animals
How Do Octopuses Change Shape and Color?

Did you know that octopuses change shape and color? It seems unbelievable but it's true. Find out more in this article.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Lanteri, A. A., & Río, M. G. D. (2014). La imitación en la naturaleza. Ciencia Hoy23.
  • Ziegler, A., Sagorny, C. (2021). Holistic description of new deep sea megafauna (Cephalopoda: Cirrata) using a minimally invasive approach. BMC Biol 19, 81.
  • Jamieson, A. J., & Vecchione, M. (2020). First in situ observation of Cephalopoda at hadal depths (Octopoda: Opisthoteuthidae: Grimpoteuthis sp.). Marine Biology167(6), 1-5.
  • Mäthger, L. M., & Hanlon, R. T. (2007). Malleable skin coloration in cephalopods: selective reflectance, transmission and absorbance of light by chromatophores and iridophores. Cell and tissue research329(1), 179-186.
  • Josef, N., Amodio, P., Fiorito, G., & Shashar, N. (2012). Camouflaging in a complex environment—octopuses use specific features of their surroundings for background matching. PLoS One7(5), e37579.
  • Mäthger, L. M., Bell, G. R., Kuzirian, A. M., Allen, J. J., & Hanlon, R. T. (2012). How does the blue-ringed octopus (Hapalochlaena lunulata) flash its blue rings?. Journal of Experimental Biology215(21), 3752-3757.
  • Mather, J. (1984). Development of behaviour in Octopus joubini Robson, 1929. Vie et Milieu/Life & Environment, 17-20.
  • Mather, J. (1980). Social organization and use of space by Octopus joubini in a semi-natural situation. Bulletin of Marine Science30(4), 848-857.
  • Mather, J. A. (1982). Factors affecting the spatial distribution of natural populations of Octopus joubini Robson. Animal behaviour30(4), 1166-1170.
  • Forsythe, J. W. (1984). Octopus joubini (Mollusca: Cephalopoda): a detailed study of growth through the full life cycle in a closed seawater system. Journal of Zoology202(3), 393-417.
  • Forsythe, J. W., & Toll, R. B. (1991). Clarification of the Western Atlantic Ocean pygmy octopus complex: the identity and life history of Octopus joubini (Cephalopoda: Octopodinae). Bulletin of Marine Science49(1-2), 88-97.
  • Gutnick, T., & Kuba, M. J. (2018). Animal Behavior: Socializing Octopus. Current Biology28(19), R1147-R1149.
  • Freeman, D. J., Marshall, B. A., Ahyong, S. T., Wing, S. R., & Hitchmough, R. A. (2010). Conservation status of New Zealand marine invertebrates, 2009. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research44(3), 129-148.
  • O’Shea, S. (1999). The marine fauna of New Zealand: Octopoda (Mollusca: Cephalopoda) NIWA Biodiversity Memoir 112 National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Wellington.
  • Sinn, D. L., Perrin, N. A., Mather, J. A., & Anderson, R. C. (2001). Early temperamental traits in an octopus (Octopus bimaculoides). Journal of Comparative Psychology115(4), 351.
  • Boal, J. G., Dunham, A. W., Williams, K. T., & Hanlon, R. T. (2000). Experimental evidence for spatial learning in octopuses (Octopus bimaculoides). Journal of Comparative Psychology114(3), 246.
  • De Silva-Dávila, R., Avendaño-Ibarra, R., & del Carmen Franco-Gordo, M. (2013). Calamares y pulpos de la costa sur de Jalisco y Colima. María del Carmen Franco-Gordo (ed.), 43.
  • Díaz, J. M., Ardila, N., & García, A. (2000). Calamares y Pulpos (Mollusca: Cephalopoda) del MarCaribe Colombiano. Biota Colombiana1(2), 195-201.

The contents of My Animals are written for informational purposes. They can't replace the diagnosis, advice, or treatment from a professional. In the case of any doubt, it's best to consult a trusted specialist.