From Donna Rathmell (SD Editor, but today, she’s wearing her Author Hat):
October 8, mere days away, is Cephalopod Day – say what? Known to most of us as octopus, squid, cuttlefish or nautilus, these are fun animals to watch. Most of us have probably only had the fortune to see these wonderful creatures at an aquarium or zoo.I consider myself very fortunate to have seen some of these animals in wild. We had just anchored in a clear, sandy bottom in about 12 feet of water off a small, deserted cay (pronounced “key”) in the Windward Islands. My job was to dive the anchor to verify that it was properly set. I grabbed my snorkel & fins, put down the swim ladder, and jumped – right into a swarm of tiny squid! I was truly blessed to see them actually shooting their little purple ink clouds!
As co-author of Octavia and Her Purple Ink Cloud, I confess that I am intrigued by these animals—especially the octopus (which is why Octavia is an octopus and not a squid). Face it, “octopus” is even more fun to say!
Octopuses are incredibly smart animals. Various research projects have noted:
- · An octopus will unscrew a lid off a jar to get to food inside of it.
- · An octopus changes colors according to its surroundings – including taking on a “checkered-board” pattern when swimming over one!
- · An octopus can learn by watching another octopus. Two octopuses were placed in separate areas next to each other with a clear plexi-glass divider. Researchers dropped a red ball into the water and when touched, the octopus would get food. When a white ball was dropped and then touched, the octopus would get a shock. It didn’t take long for the octopus to figure it out and only touch the red ball. After a few days, the researchers dropped balls into the other tank. The second octopus never touched the white ball – only the red one for food!
(Some Latin Root Trivia: Sept = 7, Oct = 8, Novem = 9, Dec = 10. Why is October the 10th month and not the 8th? The Ancient Romans started their year with the spring solstice, so March was the first month, not the third as it is today. That made October the eighth month! July and August were added in honor of Caesar Julius Augustus.)
Octopus, squid & cuttlefish all have eight arms (the squid & cuttlefish also have two tentacles) – To celebrate October 8 as Cephalopod Day is a pure play on the number 8.
For more information, visit: http://cephalopodcast.com/blog/category/nekton/events/cephday/. And for all the Sylvan Dell Celebration Days, go to http://www.sylvandellpublishing.com/SpecialDays.htm.