|Medusa the Pacific Giant Octopus in the corner of her tank.|
|Medusa putting a tentacle into the pan of shrimp.|
|Medusa curled up around the container full of shrimp and squid.|
As she worked on getting to her breakfast, she slowly moved closer to Kathlina and me, providing a great photo opportunity that highlights some of the interesting traits octopi possess.
|An underwater view.|
|Close-up of Medusa's tentacle.|
Some of the more remarkable traits about cephalopods is their developed senses, large brains and their ability to change color. While other mollusks do not have eyes, cephalopod eyesight is very keen and is the main sense they use to hunt. The intelligence of octopi is highly debated, but they do possess a brain larger than other invertebrates and experiments have shown an ability to solve mazes.
The group of cephalopods that includes squid, octopus, and cuttlefish (subclass Coleoidea) possess pigmented cells called chromatophores. Contracting and relaxing small mussels around the chromatophores causes the animal to change color, and they can do so very quickly. Color change occurs during reproductive activities, times of stress, or in an attempts to camouflage with the surrounding environment. Octopi can also change the texture of their skin. We were lucky enough to catch Medusa in the middle of a color change.
|Chromatophores allow octopi to change color.|