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Bio101 Organism Physiology the Octopus




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Bio101 Organism Physiology the Octopus
Organism Physiology: The Octopus
Enteroctopus Dofleini or giant octopus is a marine invertebrate organism
that inhabits the oceans off the coast of the United States. Its food
source consists of crabs, small fish, clams, mussels and other marine
animals. The octopus is predatory by nature and has developed many
adaptations in the form of advance specialized organs to aid in its
The octopus has developed several organs that are vital to its survival,
the brain/nervous system, complex eyes and arms for capturing its prey.
In this paper the topic to discuss is these different organs and how they
have adapted physiologically to its environment.
The Giant Octopus has a considerably larger brain in comparison to
other Mollusca which wraps around the esophagus and just below the
optic socket. The brain, sense organs, and central nervous system are
the most highly developed of the invertebrates. During its life span the
brain will continue to grow and will consist of 170 million nerve cells, of
which 130 million will be optical. 350 million nerve cells will reside in the
arms of the giant octopus and can distinguish objects with the same
sensitivity as its sight. As the octopus moves along the ocean floor, these
nerve cells allow the octopus to learn its surroundings. The animal can
remember its past environments and keep a working memory of areas
they have fed on in the past. When feeding in a treacherous
environment both prey and predator must develop a varied range of
hunting and defense behaviors. The octopus long-term and short-term
memory capability from its advanced brain adaptation gives this creature
a definite advantage in survival.
Octopuses are stealth hunters and have the ability to change color to
match the surroundings as they hide. The octopus waits for the prey to
arrive within reach, then grabs it and secretes a nerve poison, stunning

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the prey. Chromataphores are they light reflecting cells on the skin of the
giant octopus that allow it to blend into their surroundings. Each
chromataphore consists of a central cell containing pigment granules
which is then surrounded by 15-25 muscle fibers and receives
instructions by a set of nerve cells controlled by the brain.
Diagram of a chromataphore cell.
Picture of clumps of chromataphore cells on skin.
In times of distress, the octopus can detach a limb and the crawling arm
serves as a distraction to the predator, allowing the octopus to escape.
The octopus is a great example of adaptation in an organism and has
the ability to adapt to any environment it inhabits. The brain enables the
octopus to solve problems and has the ability to remember its
surroundings, the brain works with the octopus’s arms similar to the way
the brain works the human limbs. The brain sends nerve impulses to the
arms and then the arms carryout the tasks that are signaled by the brain.
The octopus can sense a predator and utilize its defense mechanism as
an ink screen that disorients and confuses the predator. This allows the
octopus to escape to safety. The physiological development of the
organs in the octopus ensures its survival in its habitat, and makes it an
excellent hunter.
It is hypothesized [Passive voice ] that the brain of the octopus gives a
task to the arm and the arm essentially decides how to carry out that
task. An experiment was done [Passive voice ] that involved separating
and cutting the nerves of the arm from other nerves in the body and then
[consider removing "then"] tickling the arm. The response showed the
injured arm reacted just as a healthy octopus’s arm would (Horton,
2008). All of this unique circuitry gives the octopus immaculate control
over their bodies.
The octopus prefers movement in a style closest to walking. Suckers on
each arm move in unison to [Incorrect preposition--should be "with"]
propel the octopus. Each sucker has up to 10,000
neurons in it (Horton, 2008Marine biologists that have studied
cephalopods claim that their subjects even have personalities and “that
octopuses engage in play, the deliberate, repeated, outwardly useless
activity through which smarter animals explore their world and refine

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