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Science

It's Cephalopod Week: Here's why squids and octopuses are truly amazing

Beautiful, intelligent and fascinating: here's why cephalopods deserve your respect.

To help celebrate the fact it’s Cephalopod Week, here’s a round-up of reasons why squids, octopuses and their kind are really pretty amazing.

They have brains in their arms

(Chris Ison/PA)
(Chris Ison/PA)

Yup: you read that correctly.

Octopuses have more than one nerve centre in their bodies, including in their tentacles. Even if you were to cut one off it would still respond to external stimuli, despite being separated from the rest of the body.

They can squeeze through tiny spaces

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A lack of bones means they can squeeze into extremely tight spots and still get out using their powerful bodies.

They can solve problems

(David Parry/PA)
(David Parry/PA)

In fact, some cephalopod are so good at problem-solving they have gained a reputation for escaping from laboratories and public aquariums.

They squirt ink to protect themselves

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This isn’t a piddling diversion tactic.

Many cephalopods squirt large clouds of black ink to mask their escape from predators, before gliding off to safety.

They can mimic other things

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Certain species of cephalopod have been found to have special light-sensitive skin pigmentation that is similar to that found in other animals’ eyes, allowing for quickfire transformations.

They are cute

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Cephalopods might not be your classically “cute” animal of choice, but given a chance they’re actually pretty sweet.

And besides – they love a good cuddle…

They are seriously beautiful

(fotokon/Getty Images)
(fotokon/Getty Images)

The huge array of colours, forms, shapes and sizes is wondrous.

It’s hard not to find them fascinating, even when they kind of freak you out.

Their merchandise is the best

(RubyRain/Getty Images)
(RubyRain/Getty Images)

Octopus kites, stuffed toy squids, earrings, necklaces, scarves – you name it, you can get it.

They make a pretty mean tattoo

(aijohn784/Getty Images)
(aijohn784/Getty Images)

If the idea of cephalopod jewellery doesn’t take your fancy, the intricate body shapes have proved popular with rock stars like John Frusciante and can symbolise a variety of meanings such as intelligence, mystery, and one who protects oneself or others.

They can predict results

(Niall Carson/PA)
(Niall Carson/PA)

Paul the Octopus became famous for correctly predicting the winning team in four of Germany’s six Euro 2008 matches, and all seven of their matches in the 2010 World Cup.

His Irish cousin Bertie was also used, with relatively less success, to predict the 2011 Irish general election result. He chose the Green Party.

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