23 Different Types of Octopus

Different Types of Octopus
Photo by K. Mitch Hodge

Octopuses are among the most amazing creatures on Earth. They all operate and evolve in various ways, especially compared to terrestrial creatures.

Learning about different types of octopus not only allows you to learn more about the animals that swim in the depths but also allows you to grasp how amazing these creatures are.

They are one of the most intelligent water creatures, full of personality and intriguing methods to live in the ocean’s perilous depths.

There are now around 300 octopus species recorded, with more discovered every decade.

Learning about octopuses not only allows you to learn more about the animals that swim in the depths, but it also allows you to grasp how amazing these creatures are.

Octopoda, which means “eight feet,” is the whole order of the octopus classification system.

These appendages do not operate as feet or legs but rather as arms.

Within this order, two basic subgroups distinguish the 300+ varieties of Octopus. These include the suborders Cirrina and Incirrina.

Incirrina Sub-order

The octopuses in this group have distinctive bulbous heads and no fins.

They have the standard eight arms that stretch twice the length of their head’s height and silky suckers that go up their legs.

They have no supporting skeletal structure and prefer to dwell in shallower water due to their anatomical nature.

Cirrina Sub-order

The Cirrina octopus is one of the most unusual octopuses. They frequently have a different look than you would expect from an octopus.

The first notable distinction between these octopuses and those in the suborder above is the type of suckers they have known as “cirri,” which is also the name of the whole suborder.

Cirrina octopus not only has filamentous strands coming from their suckers but also has some form of webbing connecting their arms.

Different Types of Octopus

1. Dumbo Octopus

The Dumbo Octopus is a well-known Cirrina octopus species. They, like many other species in this suborder, are deep-sea creatures.

These insects are relatively small, standing just around 8 inches (20.32 cm) tall. They seem to lack limbs on the bottom of their bodies due to the webbing that extends from each one.

Dumbo Octopuses dwell on the ocean floor at depths ranging from 9,800 to 13,000 feet, making them the deepest-living octopus species on our list of different types of Octopus.

They have the usual fins on their mantle that give them the appearance of having enormous ears.

2. Coconut Octopus

Coconut Octopus
by berniedup is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The Coconut Octopus is yet another intriguing octopus species known for its intelligence. The Coconut Octopus exemplifies this with its ability for foresight and concealment.

They walk on the ocean floor with two legs while carrying a coconut shell on their heads.

When a predator looks down from above, this motion makes it appear like the coconut shell is being pushed by the waves, an entirely natural phenomenon when lunch strolling below it.

3. Common Blanket Octopus

Common blanket octopus
by Emőke Dénes is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Thirdly on our compilation of different types of Octopus is the Common Blanket Octopus, also known as Violet Blanket Octopus. They are colossal Octopuses found in very warm water.

The name Blanket Octopus comes from the translucent webbing that joins the females’ dorsolateral and dorsal arms.

The remainder of their arms are short and lack webbing, giving the impression that blankets are streaming behind them as they swim.

They employ these blankets when threatened, releasing them into the water to expand their size dramatically.

4. Hammer Octopus

Octopus australis
by Marco Bordieri is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

The Hammer Octopus’s whole body has a sandy cream hue. They have a skin ridge over their entire body, which aids these octopuses in burying themselves in the sand.

They have long limbs with thin tips at the end, which make them more agile but are mainly utilized to aid in reproduction.

The Hammer Octopus thrives in the subtropical waters of eastern Australia, from Queensland to New South Wales.

5. Southern Keeled Octopus

Southern Keeled Octopus
by Saspotato is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Another octopus indigenous to Australia’s coastal waters, notably in the Southeast, is the Southern Keeled Octopus.

They resemble the Octopus australis and are frequently captured by mistake while dredging for scallops or mussels.

The Southern Keeled Octopus’s color ranges from cream to light brown. Their name comes from the skin-keel that forms over the tip of their mantle.

These octopuses eat mostly crustaceans. When annoyed, the spheres surrounding their eyes darken, and their webs flare up.

6. California Two-Spot Octopus

California Two-Spot Octopus
by Ryan Somma is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Moving on the list of different types of Octopus is the California Two-Spot Octopus, also known as the “Bimac.”

The name comes from the blue spots on either side of its head, diverting victims from their actual eyes on their mantle.

These octopi have a patchy brown hue but can alter their body color to hunt and conceal.

They may be in the Pacific Ocean, primarily off the coast of Mexico and up to Northern California.

7. Caribbean Reef Octopus

Caribbean Reef Octopus
by prilfish is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Caribbean Reef Octopus is yet another species that prefer to live in warm coastal regions from Mexico to the Bahamas and the coast of the West Indies.

They are shallow-water octopuses that typically live in depths ranging from 10 (3 m) to 65 feet (19.8 m).

The Caribbean Reef Octopus gets its name from its favorite home, the coral reefs, where it makes its dens.

These octopuses are also among the species with the shortest lifespans, lasting about 10 to 12 months in the wild.

They are also cannibalistic and protective, guarding their caves against other octopuses in their domain and devouring them.

8. Lilliput Longarm Octopus

Macrotritopus defilippi
by Kevin Bryant, DMD is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

One of the different types of Octopus is the Atlantic Longarm Octopuses.

Despite being a little octopus species, they have long arms reaching far further than their head height.

The Lilliput Longarm octopus has a vast range Worldwide. They’ve been spotted in the Caribbean, the Indian Ocean, and the Mediterranean.

They are very adept in camouflaging to avoid predators, yet they must move to feed.

To do this, they flatten themselves, with their arms spilling alongside them.

This shape gives them the appearance of flatfish and allows them to blend in with the sand, gripping the ocean floor so tightly that they don’t even cast a shadow.

9. Atlantic Pygmy Octopus

Atlantic Pygmy Octopus
by stokes rx is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

The Atlantic Pygmy or Dwarf Octopus is the smallest Octopus in the ocean.

They are just 5 inches long, with 3 of those inches being tentacles. The majority of adults of this breed weigh under one ounce.

These little octopuses excel at concealing from predators. They collect clamshells for themselves and nestle into the sand to construct a refuge.

They also habitually lurk among human garbage, such as submerged Coke cans, and spend most of their time in the Cayman Islands because they require clean, warm water to thrive.

10. East Pacific Red Octopus

East Pacific Red Octopus
by J. Maughn is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

These octopuses are a beautiful red hue that resembles the reefs and rocks around them.

This hue and environment have given them their name.

However, they are more often regarded as “red octopus.” These octopuses are bottom feeders as they usually eat at depths of around 1000 feet (304.8 m) but survive in shallow water on North America’s West Coast.

Even though the species emerged in the mid-1800s, its formal classification is still unknown.

Scientists think that as they continue to explore and identify octopuses, this species may join a subspecies or species complex of another form of Octopus.

11. Common Octopus

Common Octopus
by Paul and Jill is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Common Octopus is a popular specie on our list of different types of Octopus found worldwide.

They are in various environments, including temperate, tropical, and subtropical seas, with depths ranging from 300 (91.4 m) to 500 feet (152.4 m).

Only the polar and subpolar seas in the extreme north and south of the planet are devoid of them.

The skin of this Octopus is smooth, which is unusual for octopuses.

Their arms range from 1 (0.3 m) to 3 feet (0.9 m) with suckers on the underside. They belong to the Incirrina suborder, and so lack an endoskeleton.

12. Star-sucker Pygmy Octopus

The Star-sucker Pygmy octopus is another of the most miniature octopuses discovered to date.

When fully grown, they may weigh 0.5 to 1 ounce and measure 1 to 3 inches long.

They are usually a sandy orange color with cute little arms laced with tiny suckers.

They enjoy shallow waters where they may forage for small mollusks and crustaceans.

13. Flapjack Octopus

One of these umbrella octopuses is the Flapjack Octopus. Their webbing and tiny legs make them seem like a deep red ball of jelly when they are stable.

They are Cirrina octopuses, and they have fins over their eyes.

They consume tiny fish and crustaceans and may be found off the shores of Japan and California at great depths.

14. Seven-Arm Octopus

This Octopus is one of the world’s largest on this list of different types of Octopus though it is not as enormous as the Giant Pacific.

These octopuses have a maximum length of 11 feet and can weigh up to 165 pounds (74.8 kg).

These cephalopods are known as “Seven-Arm” octopuses because they appear to have just seven arms rather than the required eight.

The Octopus actually has eight arms, but it hides the eighth one by keeping it near its body since they usually use the arm for mating.

15. Giant Pacific Octopus

Giant Pacific Octopus
by canopic is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The Giant Pacific Octopus is by far one of the largest octopuses on the planet.

The largest of these animals, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, weighs 300 pounds (136.1 kg), while there has been a story of one weighing over 600 pounds (272.2 kg) with an arm reach of nearly 30 feet (9.1 m).

The species dwell in the Pacific Ocean off the coasts of the United States, Canada, Alaska, Russia, and Southeast Asia.

Their optimum habitat is in and around soft substrates like mud or sand. For massive feeding, they are frequently observed in clusters around kelp fields.

Interestingly, despite their diverse environment, they are ectothermic, having a metabolic nature that is temperature dependent.

16. Mimic Octopus

Mimic Octopus
by Elias Levy is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Mimic Octopus is a one-of-a-kind octopus when exploring different types of Octopus on our planet, capable of hiding itself better than virtually any other octopus.

They have brown and white lines that run the length of their bodies.

They may use these colors and patterns to lengthen their limbs and modify their bodies to resemble other deadly sea species.

This trait enables them to imitate predators rather than become prey, thus frightening off many of their common predators.

17. Blue-Ringed Octopus

Blue-Ringed Octopus
by krokodiver is licensed under CC BY 2.0

There aren’t many poisonous octopuses in the categorization. An octopus, for the most part, cannot harm people. This is not the case for the Blue-Ringed Octopus.

They are one of four known extremely poisonous species regarding different types of Octopus.

These magnificent octopuses have blue rings sprinkled all over their yellow to orange bodies, and each one is hazardous.

The Blue-Ringed Octopus has the title of the most poisonous marine species on the planet. When the Octopus is agitated, the rings glow as a warning hue.

Instead of producing ink, as many other octopuses do, this species produces a poison laced with tetrodotoxin, much like the toxic pufferfish.

Humans are particularly vulnerable to poison.

18. Southern Blue-Ringed Octopus

Southern Blue-Ringed Octopus
by berniedup is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The Southern Blue-Ringed Octopus is another deadly octopus. This Octopus is significantly smaller than its relative (Blue-Ringed Octopus).

These octopuses are tiny, ranging from 0.15 (0.38 cm) to 7.9 (20.1 cm). They range in color from dark brown to yellow and might sometimes seem tan.

These little octopuses have a highly similar pattern to the bigger blue-ringed Octopus.

They have blue eyespots on their bodies that can emit deadly saliva. They are typically seen in tidal rock pools along Australia’s southern coast.

19. Capricorn Octopus

The nineteenth spot on this list of different types of Octopus goes to the Capricorn Octopus, which earned its name because of the curve its arms take around its body.

They are tiny octopuses with a 3.1-inch (7.9 cm) long mantle.

Capricorn octopuses are nocturnal, only appearing at night to seek food.

They emerge from their caves and fissures into Australia’s dark waters, where they will face less competition than during the day.

Their hunting at night has earned them the moniker “night octopuses.”

20. Sandbird Octopus

The Indo-West Pacific waters near Mozambique, the Red Sea, and Japan are home to the Sandbird Octopus.

They hunt them for food to garnish traditional dishes.

These octopuses got their popular name because they live in muddy and sandy holes.

21. Mosaic Octopus

The Mosaic Octopus cannot be left out when discussing different types of Octopus, Even though there is very little information about them.

These organisms are from the Incirrina suborder and have the shape of a typical octopus.

Their bodies, however, have little spiky areas that resemble the reeves in Indonesia.

Although found across the West Pacific, they are most frequently associated with Indonesia.

22. Algae Octopus

Algae Octopus
by Noodlefish is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

The Algae Octopus derives its name from its camouflaged appearance when hiding or hunting.

It resembles an enlarged snail shell, staying motionless on the ocean floor for hours.

These octopuses are extremely small. Their hands are around the size of a tangerine, and their legs are approximately 10 inches (25.4 cm) long.

23. Argonauts

Lastly on this interesting list of different types of Octopus is the Argonauts. Argonauts are the only pelagic octopuses on the planet, unlike most octopus species.

Argonauts spend their life floating near the open ocean’s surface rather than on a structure on the bottom, such as a rocky coastline or coral reef.

These types of octopuses are some of the few that have external shells. All argonauts are sexually dimorphic, which means that males and females appear significantly different.

Argonauts have a mantle (main body, not tentacles) around 5 inches long, with shells up to 12 inches long.

The males are just a quarter of the size of the females, measuring 34 of an inch.

Other interesting facts about Octopuses

  • Octopuses have a short lifespan. Males die soon after mating, whereas females die soon after the eggs hatch.
  • Octopuses move in three ways: by walking on the ocean floor, swimming with their tentacles, and squirting water from a hollow.
  • Octopus hearts have three chambers. One heart circulates blood throughout the Octopus’s body, while the other two circulate blood to the gills.
  • Octopus blood is blue.
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