can an octopus regrow its arm

Can An Octopus Regrow An Arm?

Octopuses = food for a lot of animals in the ocean, and that’s one of the reasons they have so many awesome strategies for defending themselves. From their ability to change color to their ability to drop an arm in a pinch, an octopus has quite the list of options to choose from when it needs to make a quick escape. But does dropping an arm mean spending the rest of its life as a septopus?! Continue to read to find the answer to your question: Can an octopus regrow an arm?

Look closely– can you see the mini arm growing back?

What’s arm regeneration?

An octopus that loses an arm is not doomed to stay a septopus, because its arm will regenerate! But, first things first. Why might an octopus lose an arm, to begin with?

If a predator, such as a shark, grabs an octopus’s arm, the octopus can shed its limb and swim away (mostly) intact. Octopuses share this ability to drop limbs, called autotomy, with some sea stars, lizards, and amphibians, among other animals.

Once it sheds an arm, the octopus’s body gets to work building a new one. Cells called hemocytes flood the place where the arm was lost, and then regenerating fibers start growing into what will become a brand-new, fully functioning arm! 

This study took a close look at the process of arm regeneration in a Common Octopus (Octopus vulgaris).

Three days after the loss of its arm, the octopus in the study had a little knob where its old arm was lost. After 11 days, there was a “protrusion”, and after 17 days, a little hook-like thing appeared at the end of it.

After 55 days, scientists could spot a tiny version of the arm, and then after 130 days, a new, complete arm had regrown!

🐙 Fun Fact 🐙

All eight of an octopus’s appendages are arms, not tentacles, and there IS a difference! One of the biggest differences is that arms are lined by suckers, while tentacles usually have suckers just at the ends.

underside of octopus arms deposit photos

But what about the nervous system?

Of course, an octopus arm is not just an arm … it’s like a mini-brain and an arm all wrapped up in one sucker-lined package. An octopus’s arms are packed with neurons. When an octopus regenerates a lost arm, it rebuilds its nervous system as well.

🐙 Fun Fact 🐙

Octopus arms can make decisions, thanks to an octopus’s unique “bottom-up” decision-making process, which is quite different from humans’ “brain-down” method of making decisions.

Perhaps it’s not surprising, then, to learn that a severed octopus arm continues to move around after it’s disconnected from the animal’s central brain. The severed arm may even continue to look for food

Now you know the ARMazing truth

Lose an arm, grow an arm—if you’re an octopus, limb regeneration is a normal part of life! If you enjoyed this post, check out our in-depth blog on octopus arms!

What fact below surprised you? 🎥: Schmidt Ocean InstituteMeet the 7-armed octopus, also known as Haliphron atlanticus! Now, don’t be fooled – it actually has eight arms. The secret lies in the male’s seventh arm, which is a special reproductive arm called a hectocotylus (hek-toh-kot-uh-luhs) 💕This love-arm is used to transfer spermatophores to the lucky lady during their romantic rendezvous. 🥰 You see, the males are pretty sneaky – they often tuck this special arm into a pouch near their eye, giving the appearance of having only seven arms. And that’s how this unique creature got its name, the 7-armed octopus! 🐙✨1️⃣ 🏆 Ready for a mind-blowing fact? There was a Haliphron female studied in New Zealand who might just be the biggest octopus EVER! 13 feet long and 165 pounds. Talk about a giant of the deep! 🌊🐙👑2️⃣ 🏊‍♂️ Haliphron octopuses are deep-sea travelers! The youngsters (juveniles) prefer to chill in shallower waters, while the grown-ups (adults) dive deep!3️⃣ 🎨 Haliphron has a unique appearance – their bodies are short, gelatinous, and they’ve got deep webbing that connects their arms!4️⃣ 🏡 These octomoms have a wild way of taking care of their eggs – the momma Haliphron broods the eggs around her beak, forming grape-like clusters of eggs! ❤️🍇 This arrangement basically blocks off where she eats, showcasing her dedication to protecting her precious little ones. 🐙🥚🍽️5️⃣ 👁️ With eyes that make up about 40% of their mantle length, Haliphron octopuses could totally win a staring contest! 🌊👀6️⃣ 🍽️ Haliphron’s diet mainly consists of red-colored prey like cnidarians (think of creatures like jellyfish).7️⃣ 🏊‍♂️ They’re elusive swimmers! It’s believed that Haliphron can outmaneuver nets, making them difficult to catch. They’re super rare to spot! 🐙💨8️⃣ 🍽️ Not only do Haliphron looove munching on jellyfish 😋, but they’re also super smart 🧠 and may use them as bait 🎣 to snag even more delicious prey like fish and crustaceans🐟🦐Most know about the giant pacific octopus — but perhaps there are bigger species we have yet to discover?Appreciate the work Schmidt Ocean Institute does for the world!

Posted by Octonation – The Largest Octopus Fan Club on Tuesday, March 28, 2023
By: Schmidt Ocean Institute

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