The Octopus: Blue Blood and Coconut Shells

Written by on July 9, 2013 in Invertebrates, Marine Life
Veined octopus (Amphioctopus marginatus) using two shells as shelter.

Veined octopus (Amphioctopus marginatus) using two shells as shelter. Photo credit: Nick Hobgood.

Octopods can live in a wide range of habitats because they can tolerate temperatures from -1.8°C to over 30°C. New research shows that this ability comes from their blood.

Octopods have blue blood; that color comes from the blood pigment haemocyanin which is responsible for transporting oxygen. Researchers studied the properties of haemocyanin in Antarctic, temperate and warm-adapted octopods and found that it is genetically different in colder waters.

In the Antarctic octopod Pareledone charcoti, the haemocyanin is genetically and functionally different which is why it can still transport oxygen at sub-zero temperatures.

And if the octopus’s cool blue blood isn’t enough to make it your new favorite ocean creature, check out this amazing video footage of an octopus that can use tools. That’s right — the veined octopus (Amphioctopus marginatus) uses coconut shells as a tool to hide from predators. These are actually the first invertebrates to be seen using tools.

To learn more:

Copyright © 2013 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .


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