“In Hawai’i, octopuses are called he’e, tako and squid. Two kinds are common; both are active at night.
Octopuses habe lairs or dens. Some build their own homes by pilling up rocks and coral debris, but most move into pre-existing spaces. Glass bottles are favorites of these agile creatures, which can squeeze themselves through tiny holes. But since bottles don’t have back doors, this kind of housing leaves octopuses particularly vulnerable to attack by their most eager predators, moray eels.
An octopus either goes hunting away from its lair or sits in wait jus outside its hole, changing color to match the surrounding area. It leaps on passing fish, shrimp or snails, the injects poison with a bite from strong jaws. The octopus drags the paralyzed animal back to its home to eat in safety. Because of this feeding behavior, octopus dens or “gardens” are often littered cwith discarded bones and shells.
Octopuses have unusual mating habits. The mate has specialized arm for sperm transfer. He inserts the tip of this amr into the female’s mantrle cavity, then transfers seperm down a groove of his arm by muscle contractions. In some species, the end of this sex organ holds a seperm packet that breaks off inside the female and then moves around on its own for a while. The biologists who first discovered this packet thought it was a parasitic worm.
Because most male octopuses are smaller than females, they risk being eatne ir a female isn’t in the courting mood. Demales who are in the mood accept the sperm, then lay eggs in strings from the top of their dens, which they guard with their lives. Females don’t eat during the brooding period and, after their eggs hatch, female octopuses die.
Octopuses are smart. They learn quickly and remember things for a few weeks. In one experiment, researechers gave an octopuses a crab to eat in a square background. If the octopus went for a craba in a rectangle, workers gave the subject a mild shock. The octopus quickly learned tha squares meant food and would attack even empty squares. Although in Hawai’i today people use the word squid to mean octopus, they are two different animals. Ancient Hawaiians recognized squid as a distinct group, calling them muhe’e. Squid aren’t reef animal but swim in the open ocean.
Early Hawaiians ate octopus and used them as medicine for certain illnesses.”
Susan Scott -Plants and Animals of Hawaii-
Via la web de Susan Scott
Marine science writer Susan Scott has written a weekly column, "Ocean Watch," for the Honolulu Star-Bulletin since 1987. You can search the columns by date, title or keyword.
Susan is the author of three books about nature in Hawaii: Oceanwatcher: An Above-Water Guide to Hawaii's Marine Animals; Plants and Animals of Hawaii; and Exploring Hanauma Bay.
Susan and her husband, Craig Thomas, M.D., are co-authors of three highly regarded medical reference books: All Stings Considered: First Aid and Medical Treatment of Hawaii'i's Marine Injuries; Pests of Paradise: First Aid and Medical Treatment of Injuries from Hawai'i's Animals and Poisonous Plants of Paradise: First Aid and Medical Treatment of Injuries from Hawai'i's Plants.