Octopus: The Ocean's Intelligent Invertebrate (Anglais) Relié – 12 mai 2010
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The authors of this book take the reader through the tragically short life span of an Octopus from the egg to the adult. The writers also maintained an aura of scientific study and terminology, but had the common sense to utilize a layman's "story quality" style of writing so that... even the "scientific challenged" like me could understand exactly what was being stated.
If you have an interest in oceanography, wildlife, and nature, then I can guarantee... you will not be disappointed with this book! In addition there are some 38 magnificent color photographs of various octopuses to "stoke the embers" of the readers interest in the subject matter held at arms length (all eight of them)!
1) Octopuses (and not, as I learned, “octopi”) are fascinating, smart and have distinct personalities; they are able to solve problems and learn new strategies (though, like some other unnamed animals [hint: humans], they still have behavioral blind spots that no amount of new data inputs can override).
2) They are masters of camouflage, able to blend in with any number of environmental backgrounds and even move patterns across the surface of their bodies like fleshy LED banners.
3) As an extension of #2, they can do all this even though their eyes are color blind, which makes me wonder if they have some kind of crazy, eyeless physical sight in their skin/appendages.
4) Even though this is related to squid and not octopuses, some may have a visual language on their skin to share information with fellow squid; in other words, they’re “living books.”
5) The authors are clearly experts with tons of shared experience with, and empathy for, octopuses, and the book is sprinkled with meaningful personal anecdotes.
6) Octopuses are mostly solitary, have boring sex lives that always end in senescence and they die young. The males basically fumble around with their arms, squirt some sperm and then get sick and die … or, more usually, are eaten by sharks and seals.
7) Octopus mothers are awesomely attentive to their eggs, carefully hanging up strands of thousands and thousands of eggs they carefully tending to them until just about the time they hatch. Then get sick and die. Or are eaten. And all the little babies whoosh out into the ocean where most are eaten. But a few live.
8) The whole ink thing is insane. Some can squirt out ink with such control, they can make a cloud that hides escape, or retains shape enough that it looks like a solid octopus. They can squirt out a couple of those, then change their skin color to match and all of sudden, a predator is faced with a bunch of inky duplicates hanging in the water that may or may not be the real deal. And some, down in the depths where light can’t reach and ink is meaningless, can squirt out glowing, bioluminescent ink!
Octopuses rock and this book is a great way to learn more about them. The Kindle version (at least on my Paperwhite) doesn’t do justice to the images, but that’s what YouTube is for. Read it if you want to learn more about cephalopods or be inspired by the mysteries of the ocean (or build your own aquarium; I skipped that section — leave the octopuses free in the sea).