15 Extraordinary Types of Octopus Species

There are now an estimated 300 different species of Octopus.

Octopuses can look spiky or smooth, they can grow horns on their heads and can match texture, color, pattern and skin.

They can crawl, jet, swim and even walk on two arms, and are also extremely fast learners with an incredible ability to deceive and mimic.

Here are 15 different types of octopus which showcase the amazing variety of behaviours and characteristics of this marine animal.

Blue-Ringed Octopus

Night photo of a jetting Blue-Ringed Octopus
A species with quite the reputation, showing its famous glowing blue rings

Renowned for being one of the world's most venomous marine animals, the Blue-Ringed Octopus can inflict total body paralysis – even to humans.

When provoked, these octopuses will flash their 40 to 60 glowing blue rings to warn off predators.

The Blue-Ringed Octopus usually hunts during the day.

When prey is located, they leap into action using tentacles to pull their catch towards their mouth, they then use their beak to deliver a paralyzing venom.

While resting, the Blue-Ringed Octopus are a beige, dark yellow or sometimes gray with a soft sac-like body and sucker-covered tentacles.

This psychedelic looking octopus has upwards of 60 blue rings, these can vary in size of up to 8 millimeters in diameter which cover its entire body and arms.

On average, adults can reach 1.5 to 2.5 inches (4 to 6 cm), with arms extending upwards of 2.5 to 4 inches (7 to 10 cm) long.

The Blue-Ringed Octopus usually eats small crabs and shrimps, but will occasionally feast on small fish when given the opportunity.

Scientific Name Hapalochlaena
Common Names Blue-Ringed Octopus
Size 5 - 8 inches (12 - 20 cm)
Weight 25 – 30 grams
Found in Pacific and Indian oceans

Dumbo Octopus

Night photo of a Dumbo Octopus looking at into the camera
Grimpoteuthis Umbellata - A rare type species of Dumbo Octopus

The Dumbo Octopus gives its name to a collective of 15 different species.

Famous for being the deepest dwelling octopus species and has been found at extreme depths of up to 13,000 feet (4,000 m).

This almost sightless octopus is also noted for their unusual appearance.

Their protruding ear-like fins resemble that of "Dumbo the Elephant’s".

Some Dumbo species also resemble umbrellas when their arms are spread open due to their connective webbed tentacles.

Living so deep, the Dumbo Octopus does not have an abundance of food source.

They are foraging predators with a diet that consist mostly of bristle worms, copepods, isopods and amphipods.

Much of the food they consume is located close to ocean vent ecosystems or floating along in the current.

Unlike most octopus species, the Dumbo Octopus moves in a unique way, slowly flapping its ear-like fins, and using their webbed arms to steer.

Scientific Name Grimpoteuthis
Common Names Dumbo Octopus
Size 8 - 12 inches (20 - 30 cm)
Weight 1 kg
Found in North/South Pacific & Atlantic Oceans

Mimic Octopus

Night photo of a white and brown Mimic Octopus
A Mimic Octopus showing its engaged coloration

The Mimic Octopus is the master of disguise and imitation.

They have been known to mimic 15 different marine species including anemones, mantis shrimp, jellyfish, feather stars, giant crabs, seahorses and more.

Many octopus species can change color and texture, but the Mimic Octopus takes this deception to another level by also changing the way it moves its arms to impersonate other nearby marine animals.

Mimic Octopuses are relatively small, growing to a total length of about 23 inches (60 cm).

In its natural state, they are a light beige color, however, they will take on a more engaging dark brown hue and striped white combination to intimidate predators.

Like many other octopus types the Mimic Octopus also has color-changing cells covering its skin.

Its preferred habitat is in murky water, therefore the Mimic Octopus’s natural diet consists almost solely on worms, crustaceans and occasionally small fish.

Whilst hunting, the Mimic Octopus will scower crevices in coral, when it finds prey it will grab hold of it with its arms, extract it and eat it.

Scientific Name Thaumoctopus Mimicus
Common Names Mimic Octopus
Size 23 inches (60 cm)
Weight 0.5 kg
Found in Indo-Pacific

Atlantic Pygmy Octopus

Atlantic Pygmy Octopus specimen on black background
This particular octopus specimen is just 5 centimeters in length

Like its name suggest, the Atlantic Pygmy Octopus is a small octopus species, very small in fact, fully grown this octopus only reaches approximately 6 inches (15 cm) in total and at least 3 inches (8 cm) of that is its arms.

Atlantic Pygmy Octopus are carnivores by nature and can be very selective about food.

They almost solely consume clams and other small crustaceans in large quantities.

Their usual feeding method involves digging through the hard shells and paralyzing their victims with their poisonous saliva.

Once their catch is fully immobilized, they gobble them up.

Scientific Name Octopus Joubini
Common Names Small-Egg Caribbean Pygmy Octopus
Size 6 inches (15 cm)
Weight 28 g
Found in Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico

Pacific Giant Octopus

Pacific Giant Octopus in its den sitting on rocks
A Pacific Giant Octopus resting inside a rocky cave

The Pacific Giant Octopus is the largest octopus species in the world, with one specimen found at an enormous 600 pounds (270 kg) with a length of more than 30 feet (9 m).

This truly massive octopus inhabits the northern Pacific Ocean and resides in a range of different depths.

These range from shallow tidal pools to great depths of about 5000 feet (1500 m), but is most commonly found only 15 feet (5 m) from the ocean surface.

Uually, this species appears in a mixture of red and brown hues.

An average size of an adult is 16 feet (4.9 m) across with a weight of around 132 pounds (60 kg).

The Giant Pacific Octopus is largely nocturnal, adults hunt at night for prey which consist mostly crustaceans, such as snails, shellfish, clams, crabs, scallops and lobsters.

From time to time they will also eat other smaller octopuses and have also been known to eat small sharks, using their beak-like mouths to fatally wound their prey before consuming it.

Young Giant Pacific Octopus are scavengers and feed almost entirely on dead animals.

Scientific Name Enteroctopus Dofleini
Common Names North Pacific Giant Octopus
Size 10 - 20 feet (3 - 6 m)
Weight 15 - 75 kg
Found in North Pacific

East Pacific Red Octopus

East Pacific Red Octopus camouflaged on sea grass
This individual is beginning to blend in with its grassy surroundings

The East Pacific Red Octopus is super intelligent and have very good short term and long term memories.

Through testing, marine biologist have proved that they are able to solve complex problems.

The species is small in size with the average adult measuring approximately 20 inches (50 cm) in overall length and only weigh about 150 grams.

Their resting color is usually a reddish-brown with white speckles and streaks but to evade predators they can change skin color and texture to blend in with their surroundings.

The East Pacific Red Octopus isn’t a picky feeder, they will eat anything from crabs, crustaceans, shrimp, mollusks and fishes (hermit crabs are favourites).

Although this species has superb eyesight, they use touch and smell to find prey.

Scientific Name Octopus Rubescens
Common Names East Pacific Red Octopus
Size 1 - 1.3 feet (30 - 40 cm)
Weight 150 - 400 g
Found in East Pacific

Coconut Octopus

Coconut Octopus on sandy sea-bed
A vibrant colored octopus wandering about the sea floor, hunting for prey

Commonly known as the Coconut Octopus because of the way it makes dens out of discarded coconut shells, this intelligent octopus will also carry and use trash or various types of shells for defensive tools.

What makes this octopus even more unique is their ability to move on two limbs (Bipedal Locomotion), a method similar to how humans walk.

The only other octopus species known to move this way is the Algae Octopus, although recent evidence has shown this behavioral repertoire is also found in the Common Octopus.

Adult Coconut Octopuses usually weigh between 200 to 300 grams and are just 6 inches (15 cm) wide, including the arms which usually make up half of that length.

It’s brightly colored white and blue suckers contrast greatly with the dark brown hue of its body and even darker color tones found on the edge of its arms.

The Coconut Octopus is a carnivore and eats mostly shrimp and crustaceans which they gather from the mud holes, it will also eat small fish if it can catch them.

The hunting technique of Coconut Octopuses can be described as foraging, it uses an active predatory style as well as a passive approach to catch prey.

This is displayed in the way that they appear to wander about the sea floor whilst they are in hunting mode, until it encounters suitable prey.

Simply put, this octopus does not stalk prey.

Scientific Name Amphioctopus Marginatus
Common Names Veined Octopus
Size 6 inches (15 cm)
Weight 300 g
Found in Pacific and Indian Ocean

Caribbean Reef Octopus

Photo of lilac coloured Caribbean Reef Octopus on grass
It’s rare to see a Caribbean Reef Octopus during the daytime

Caribbean Reef octopuses are a warm water species and are common throughout the waters South Florida, the Caribbean, and Northern South America.

They are rarely seen during the day but are frequently seen at night in shallow saltwater reefs.

These octopuses are usually rather bulky in appearance but are in fact relatively small, with an overall size measuring up to 60 cm across, its mantle making up around 2 to 4.7 inches (5 to 12 cm).

Crawling around the reef, this octopus is actively hunted by many large fish and sharks.

In order to escape, The Caribbean Reef Octopus will eject a cloud of foul tasting ink towards its attacking predator.

Whilst in a passive hunting mode they will usually be in their den, burrowed in the sand or a coral crevice with only its eyes sticking out.

Scientific Name Octopus Briareus
Common Names Caribbean Reef Octopus
Size 2 feet (60 cm)
Weight 1.5 kg
Found in Pacific Ocean

Flapjack Octopus

Cute photo of a Flapjack Octopus at night
Capturing photos of this cute species is few and far between

Flapjack Octopuses get their name from the intriguing way they deflate themselves to appear more flat, thereby giving the illusion that they are non threatening to would be prey.

The habitat for this species is on the seafloor, approximately 1600 to 5000 feet (500 to 1,500 m) deep, because of this great depth, they are very rarely spotted.

First discovered in 1949, the Flapjack Octopus hasn’t been studied in great detail, however, robotic submersibles have frequently observed this cute little octopus resting on the seabed.

The Flapjack Octopus belongs to the group of Umbrella Species, a type of pelagic octopus characterized by a web of skin between their tentacles.

Adding to the cuteness of this charming species are their distinctive fluffy orange body and short tentacles.

During the day and night they hunt for their prey which consist mostly of crustaceans, small worms and other invertebrates.

They hunt for prey using surprise, suddenly pouncing on them and using their hardened beaks to kill, before devouring them.

Scientific Name Opisthoteuthis Californiana
Common Names Flapjack Octopus
Size 8 inches (20 cm)
Weight 25 - 30 g
Found in East Pacific Ocean

Blanket Octopus

Female Blanket Octopus in deep ocean
An unforgettable sight of a female Blanket Octopus during a blackwater dive

Discovered in 1830, the beautifully strange and elusive Blanket Octopus can be found in both subtropical and tropical oceans.

They spends their entire life in the open ocean and are occasionally seen by deep see divers.

Unusually, female Blanket Octopuses are much bigger than males, up to 10,000 times bigger and can reach up to 6.5 feet (2 m) in length, whilst males only grow to a mere 1.5 inches (3.8 cm).

It’s obvious to see how this octopus got its name, their sheets of flesh stretched between their arms give the appearance of a beautiful opalescent blanket.

These elegant blanket like sheets are not to look pretty, instead females use this web to warn off potential predators.

Spreading her ams out to greatly increasing her apparent size, the web forms a silhouette which makes her appear much more intimidating.

However, if this deceptive trick does not succeed, they can detach these fleshy sheets, causing the predator to be entangled in her web, giving her time to escape.

Like many other octopus species, the Blanket Octopus also uses ink to intimidate predators.

But unlike other species, the males employ one of the most bizarre methods of hunting prey – ripping a stinger from the Portuguese Man o' war, to use as a weapon.

Scientific Name Tremoctopus Violaceus
Common Names Blanket Octopus
Size 6.5 feet (2 m)
Weight 10 kg
Found in North and South Atlantic Ocean

Common Octopus

Beige colored Common Octopus on rocky sea-bed floor
The Vulgaris Octopus is common but no less special

As its name suggest, the Common Octopus is widely distributed in tropical, subtropical, and temperate seas throughout the world.

It is a well-known medium sized species of octopus, that lives between the surface and a depth of 500 feet (152 m).

This species was also the star in the award winning documentary – My Octopus Teacher.

They are found frequently relaxing in holes along the sand-bed or crevices in the reef, and can squeeze through any hole that's larger than its beak.

Recent observations have shown that the Common Octopus also has the ability to travel whilst walking on just two arms.

A behavior only found evident in two other species of Octopus.

A typical adult Common Octopus grows to about 1 to 3 feet (30 to 92 cm) overall and has a saccular body, large bulbous head, big eyes, and eight distinctive arms.

They prefer to hunt at dusk, are extremely fast swimmers and have an average life span in the wild of 1 to 2 years.

Scientific Name Vulgaris Octopus
Common Names Common Octopus
Size 3.3 feet (1 m)
Weight 5 – 10kg
Found in Pacific, Indian, Mediterranean and Atlantic Ocean

The Bimac Octopus

Night shot of a Bimac Octopus crawling on coral
An octopus species with deceiving eyes

The Bimac Octopus is short for its scientific name "Bimaculoides", also known as the California Two-Spot Octopus.

They have a reputation as being one of the most tolerant, friendliest and intelligent species, which has led to an increase of them being kept as pets.

The Bimac Octopus can be found residing in depths of up to 20 meters in Baja, California.

It prefers rocky reefs, debris, holes or crevices for hiding.

In the wild this species has a lifespan of between 1 to 2 years.

This species is commonly a mottled brown color, covered with small yellow spots in various sizes.

Yet the most distinctive feature of the Bimac Octopus is its two large bright blue spots on either side of its body that resemble eyes.

These Glowing blue spots on each side of its head, located just beneath each of its eyes, serve to deceive both its predators and prey into believing that these markings are its actual eyes.

Scientific Name Octopus Bimaculoides
Common Names California Two-Spot Octopus
Size 2 feet (60 cm)
Weight 2 - 4 kg
Found in Baja California

Wolfi Octopus

Macro photo of a tiny Wolfi Octopus at night
The worlds smallest and lightest octopus

Discovered in 1913, the Octopus Wolfi, also known as the Star-Sucker Pygmy Octopus is the world's smallest octopus.

On average the this species weighs less than a gram and measures just 0.6 inches (1.5 cm) in overall length.

Found throughout the Western Pacific Ocean, the Octopus Wolfi does not stray too far from the coastline as it prefers shallower depths of water.

Being the worlds tiniest species, Octopus Wolfi are also among the shortest lived with an approximate life span of just six months.

Scientific Name Wolfi Octopus
Common Names Star-Sucker Pigmy Octopus
Size 1 inch (2.5 cm)
Weight 1 g
Found in Western Pacific ocean

Atlantic White Spotted Octopus

Large adult White Spotted Octopus on sand
This large adult White Spotted Octopus is out hunting at night

Discovered in 1826, the Atlantic White-Spotted Octopus also goes by the name "Macropus Octopus" or is sometimes referred to as a "Grass Octopus".

They are found in shallow, warmer areas of the eastern and western Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea, and the Indo-Pacific region.

This species grows relatively large with an overall maximum size of 60 inches (150 cm), however most individuals are 30 inches (76 cm) long.

The Atlantic White-Spotted Octopus is easily recognizable with their elongated body and long arms which have an intense red coloration and are covered entirely in white spots.

Hiding from predators during the day and coming out only at night to hunt, make this species a rare spectacle to all but night divers.

Scientific Name Callistocopus Macropus
Common Names Grass Octopus
Size 47 - 60 inches (120 - 150 cm)
Weight 2 kg
Found in Temperate and Tropical Waters

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