Cephalopoda


The cephalopods are a class of molluscs and comprise about 800 species. Experiments show that Cephalopoda are more intelligent than some vertebrate animals. If they had a longer life, they would probably be smarter than us and would rule our world! While diving around the Canary Islands, we can observe only four species of cephalopods, two of them however quite frequently.

Anatomy

As their name suggests, the most striking feature is that the feet are sitting on the head. Most species have eight or ten of these. Cephalopoda have a highly developed nervous system, powerful eyes and statocysts, an equilibrium organ that can experience gravity, acceleration and noise.
Apart from the head, the arms also have autonomous nerve centres, which allow them to move independently after being separated.
Except the Nautilus, Cephalopoda have lens eyes that are quiet similar to the ones of Vertebrates.
Perhaps the most remarkable characteristic that divers always astonishes is their chromatophores. These are pigments surrounded by muscle cells. If these become tense, their colour changes. A special role is played by the colour change in the camouflage and communication of the cephalopods.

Habitat and Distribution

Cephalopods are found exclusively in the sea and inhabit all regions from the equator to the poles. When diving in the Canaries, we find Octopus mostly near lava reefs, while cuttlefishes inhabit sandy surfaces and squids live in the open water.
During deep sea expeditions, different species of Cephalopoda have been found up to a depth of 7000 m.

Species of Cephalopods on the Canaries