Octopuses Statues

Octopuses Statues

Octopuses Statues

Octopuses are soft-bodied, eight-limbed molluscs of the order Octopoda. The order consists of some 300 species and is grouped within the class Cephalopoda with squids, cuttlefish, and nautiloids. Like other cephalopods, an octopus is bilaterally symmetric with two eyes and a beaked mouth at the center point of the eight limbs. The soft body can radically alter its shape, enabling octopuses to squeeze through small gaps. They trail their 8 appendages behind them as they swim. The siphon is used both for respiration and for locomotion, by expelling a jet of water. Octopuses have a complex nervous system and excellent sight, and are among the most intelligent and behaviourally diverse of all invertebrates. Octopuses inhabit various regions of the ocean, including coral reefs, pelagic waters, and the seabed, some live in the intertidal zone and others at abyssal depths.

Most species grow quickly, mature early, and are short-lived. In most species, the male uses a specially adapted arm to deliver a bundle of sperm directly into the female’s mantle cavity, after which he becomes senescent and dies, while the female deposits fertilised eggs in a den and cares for them until they hatch, after which she also dies. Strategies to defend themselves against predators include the expulsion of ink, the use of camouflage and threat displays, the ability to jet quickly through the water and hide, and even deceit. All octopuses are venomous, but only the blue-ringed octopuses are known to be deadly to humans. Octopuses appear in mythology as sea monsters like the Kraken of Norway and the Akkorokamui of the Ainu, and probably the Gorgon of ancient Greece.

A battle with an octopus appears in Victor Hugo‘s book Toilers of the Sea, inspiring other works such as Ian Fleming‘s Octopussy. Octopuses appear in Japanese erotic art, Shunga. They are eaten and considered a delicacy by humans in many parts of the world, especially the Mediterranean and the Asian seas. The scientific Latin term octopus was derived from Ancient Greek ὀκτώπους, a compound form of ὀκτώ (oktō, “eight“) and πούς (pous, “foot“), itself a variant form of ὀκτάπους, a word used for example by Alexander of Tralles (525-605) for the common octopus. The standard pluralised form of “octopus” in English is “octopuses“, the Ancient Greek plural ὀκτώποδες, “octopodes“, has also been used historically. The alternative plural “octopi” is considered grammatically incorrect because it wrongly assumes that octopus is a Latin second declension “-us” noun or adjective when, in either Greek or Latin, it is a third declension noun.

Historically, the first plural to commonly appear in English language sources, in the early 19th century, is the latinate form “octopi“, followed by the English form “octopuses” in the later half of the same century. The Hellenic plural is roughly contemporary in usage, although it is also the rarest. Fowler’s Modern English Usage states that the only acceptable plural in English is “octopuses”, that “octopi” is misconceived, and “octopodes” pedantic. The last is nonetheless used frequently enough to be acknowledged by the descriptivist Merriam-Webster 11th Collegiate Dictionary and Webster’s New World College Dictionary. The Oxford English Dictionary lists “octopuses“, “octopi“, and “octopodes“, in that order, reflecting frequency of use, calling “octopodes” rare and noting that “octopi” is based on a misunderstanding. The New Oxford American Dictionary (3rd Edition, 2010) lists “octopuses” as the only acceptable pluralisation, and indicates that “octopodes” is still occasionally used, but that “octopi” is incorrect.


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