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Octopus Blanket Complete Information

However, the characteristics that give this octopus blanket its name are only found in females. Males are much smaller than females, and females can weigh up to 40,000 times as much as males. Not only is the blanket octopus the most sexually dimorphic animal on Earth, but this cephalopod has other interesting characteristics. Information about four species of rainbow octopus shows that although rarely seen, they are adaptable and highly intelligent aquatic creatures that can live in a variety of habitats.

3 Incredible Octopus Blanket facts!

Little Men: Males don’t possess the trademark rainbow blanket this octopus is known for, but they’re also barely the size of a walnut. In fact, they’re so difficult to sight that live masculine specimen weren’t even identified in the wild until the early 2000s.
Endless Wanderlust: Blanket jellyfish are highly nomadic and highly solitary creatures that can adapt to both tropical and subtropical conditions. But they’re also known to demonstrate diel vertical migration — moving from the surface of the water at night to depths exceeding four miles
Barbaric Tool Use: Their trademark blanket provides an effective method for scaring off predators, but they also demonstrate a more aggressive stance. They’re known to rip the arms off of the poisonous man o’ war jellyfish and wield them as defensive weapons.

Evolution And History

Octopus Blanket

The 330-million-year-old fossil Cylipsimopodi bideni, found in Montana, is considered the oldest ancestor of the octopus and scientists believe it may be an even older ancestor than the dinosaur species. These animals, called haematopods, are probably the ancient ancestors of both the vampire squid and the vampire octopus. The modern octopus has eight arms, but this ancient creature had ten.

Classification And Scientific Name

Octopus Blanket

The term “blanket octopus” refers to four different species that are separated by a unique membrane connecting their eight legs. Tremoctopus is the genus in which all these species are classified. The genus may have got its name from the shivering or trembling sensation when a blanket is opened, but its exact origin is unknown. These four species are Tremoctopus gelatus, Tremoctopus gracilis, Tremoctopus robsoni, and Tremoctopus violaceus.

Species

Although there are four recognized species of blanket octopus, they are still rare and little is known about their characteristics. Functionally, all members of this species share the same pronounced sexual dimorphism and characteristic overlapping webs. Tremoctopus violaceus is an invasive blanket octopus, the most studied species and the main source of knowledge about the genus as a whole.

Common blanket octopus (Tremoctopus violaceus): The most common species, it’s found in most of the major saltwater bodies and has been spotted in waters ranging from Africa to Europe to North America.
Gelatinous blanket octopus (Tremoctopus gelatus): This species can be found in Madagascar and off the United States‘ southeast coast in Florida’s waters.
Indo-Pacific violet blanket octopus (Tremoctopus gracilis) : One of the rarer species, it’s endemic to the waters surrounding Taiwan.
Robson’s blanket octopus (Tremoctopus robsoni): Native to the southwest Pacific, it’s most commonly spotted around New Zealand.

Octopus Blanket Appearance

Males and females of this species are so different that they seem to be separate species. Males are about the size of small nuts and have no cape at all, while females can be up to 6 feet long and have the incredibly menacing outer skin that gives them their name. Except for an impressive lining and sexual dimorphism, they are essentially physically similar to other octopus species. Like many other octopus species, they can change patterns and colors to blend in with their surroundings. It can also appear in different shades.

Distribution, Population, And Habitat

Although not commonly seen in the wild, the blanket octopus appears to have a wide distribution. These cephalopods are found in the Gulf of Mexico, the Mediterranean Sea, the Indian Ocean, and the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. This is due to their ability to adapt to both tropical and subtropical water environments and their nomadic, solitary habits. The phenomenon exhibited by this octopus is called dial vertical migration. They spend the night on or near the surface of the water, but can dive as far as 4 miles below the surface when the light sinks above them.

Octopus Blanket Predators And Prey

It is difficult to determine the exact species of prey animals. This is because they are distributed over a very large and diverse geographical area. Their main diet is small fish, although the two sexes may differ in the types of fish they actively seek, given their large size differences. Like most octopus species, they hunt using both their beaks and tentacles, but they also employ more ingenious and sinister tools. It’s tangent to mannover. The tentacles at the end of this jellyfish sting are naturally paralyzed, and blanket octopi have developed resistance to jellyfish venom. When attacking prey, it opens its tentacles. Although rarely seen in the wild, baby blanket octopi probably feed on plankton until adulthood.

Despite its cleverness, the blanket octopus does not have its own natural toxins and is too small to be a visible prey for various marine predators. Blue sharks and other large fish such as marlin and tuna often prey on blanket octopuses. Whales have also been reported to eat blanket octopuses. However, blanket octopuses also have a special defense system. As a first response to danger, these octopuses inflate their shells to make themselves appear larger and more menacing. If that is unsuccessful, they may detach from the blanket completely, entangling the attacker and giving themselves an advantage in escaping.

Reproduction And Lifespan

Compared to many other species, the life cycle of the blanket octopus is less studied because it lives mainly in open waters. Blanket octopuses, like all other cephalopods, are monoecious. This indicates that they die soon after mating. Females live up to 2-3 years, while males usually live for 1-2 years. Dwarf males focus all their efforts on finding a mate.

During mating, the male’s third right arm is actually released inside the female’s body, which then separates from her body to serve as a reproductive organ. They will soon die. Female blanket octopuses go through a similarly taxing process. They can store up to 100,000 eggs until they hatch. The mother octopus stops eating and dies as soon as she lays the eggs.

Uses in Fishing And Cooking

Blanket octopuses are collected unknowingly from fishing nets and are not used for any known cuisine. Male octopus carcasses are sometimes entangled in plankton traps, but larger octopuses are rare.

Population

All four species of Octopus Blanket are classified as species of least concern on the IUCN Red List. Their status was last reviewed in 2014. Still, they are solitary and elusive animals that can be difficult to track, as they spend all day in the deep sea and only surface in the evening. For this reason, it is difficult to estimate the population of any of the four species. The species is found worldwide, and its natural habitat is coral reefs. Additionally, while hunters and fishermen may not pose a direct threat to blanket octopuses, their habitat certainly does. Destructive activities such as fishing, mining, drilling, and coastal development can severely damage coral structure, with significant ripple effects throughout the ecosystem. These octopuses, like countless other species, face existential threats to the future of coral reef systems.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Q. Where are Octopus Blanket found?

These octopi appear to be widely distributed worldwide, although being rarely seen. They are able to move between subtropical and tropical habitats. They have been discovered in the Mediterranean and Indian oceans, although they are most frequently observed in the Atlantic Ocean along the west coast of the Americas.

Q. What is the difference between a Octopus Blanket and a man o war?

One is a species of octopus that is distinguished by having a voluminous cape of flesh that they can utilize to frighten and perplex predators. The other is a poisonous jellyfish sting. However, the blanket octopus has also been seen torning loose man-of-war arms and utilizing them as weapons; it is also immune to that poison.

Q. What is the difference between a male and female Octopus Blanket?

The size difference is the most notable. Female blanket octopuses can grow up to six feet in length, and they weigh tens of thousands of times more than their male counterparts.

Q. What are the differences between a Octopus Blanket and an anglerfish?

Anglerfishes are deepwater apex predators, whereas Octopus Blanket are surface to mid-water living pelagic cephalopods. This is the primary distinction between the two species. The two also differ in terms of longevity, reproduction, diet, size, and habitat.

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