Blanket Octopus Facts
- The Blanket Octopus, or Tremoctopus, is a genus of pelagic cephalopods. The genus contains four currently known species that occupy surface to mid-waters in subtropical and tropical oceans.
- The common name of the creature is in reference to the long transparent webs that connect the dorsal and dorsolateral tentacles of the adult females.
- In fact, the other tentacles are all much shorter and lack this unique type of webbing.
- This fascinating cephalopod displays the greatest degree of sexual dimorphism among non-microscopic animals known to man.
- In fact, females may be up to as much as 10,000 times the size of the males.
The Blanket Octopus Physical Description
Collectively, all of the known types of tremoctopus exhibit an extreme degree of sexual dimorphism. Indeed, females may reach 6.6 ft (2 m) in length, whereas the tiny males are at most a few centimeters long.
The coloring varies, of course. This genus, like most of its relatives, has the ability to change color at will. However, the most common colors display include silvery sides and dark blue or purple surfaces.
The males have a specially modified third right tentacle which stores their sperm. Further, this special tentacle is popular as a hectocotylus.
The Blanket Octopus Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
The Blanket Octopus inhabits all known tropical and sub-tropical waters of the world. It also appears to inhabit a wide range of depths, as well.
Interestingly, the Blanket Octopus is immune to the poisonous Portuguese Man O’ War, whose tentacles the male and immature females rip off and use for defensive purposes.
Like many other octopuses, the blanket octopus uses ink to intimidate potential predators. Also, when in danger, the female unfurls her large net-like membranes that spread out and billow in the water, greatly increasing her apparent size which is an evolutionary adaptation unique to this species.
The male dies shortly after mating is completed. The females carry over 100,000 tiny eggs attached to a sausage-shaped calcareous secretion held at the base of the dorsal arms and carried until hatching.