Common Octopus – Octopus Vulgaris
Facts & Images
The Common Octopus grows to 25cm length (mantle) and arms up to 1m long! Octopi are able to change their appearance as both colour and texture to match their surroundings and camouflage or some claim to communicate mental states. It is an animal protected by the Animals Scientific Procedures Act of 1986 in the UK as being of high intelligence! As such they can learn to distinguish objects and learn simple tasks such as unscrewing jars to get to food.
Quite common throughout the Mediterranean from a depth of 5m to 50m. Usually coastal dwellers. They are usually solitary and territorial. They will leave their dens for feeding at dusk and return in the morning. They are typically nocturnal!
Octopi hunt at dusk, hence the best time to spot them is during night dives just before sunset, and early in the morning before sunrise! They happily feed on crabs, crayfish and mollusks which they prefer, but they can realistically eat anything they can manage to catch! Prey is immobilised with their strong tentacles and poisonous saliva paralyzes it. Shells or molluscs caught this way are cracked by the octopus’ beak before being devoured!
Species contains members of both genders who meet and while the female plays hard to get as a rule, eventually allows for the coupling to take place. The coupling takes several hours. The same pair of octopi will mate for a period of over a week even though males copulate with other females and females copulate with other males during this period aswell. Only females ready to lay eggs refuse to copulate.
Dive Site Encounters
Keep in mind during day dives that Octopus in general is hunt from dusk until dawn! During the day they hide in very very hard to see places and do not come out at all! They rest. Sometimes we are lucky and we spot them but it takes skill and observational prowess! They are far more common during the night! So plan a night dive! We got all the full moons of the year planned out to make it a special dive!