Do Octopus Have Gills? And 5 Facts You Should Know!

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Octopus are well-known for their amazing abilities, which include camouflaging themselves to look like the surroundings. In addition, they can sense their surroundings out of the water.

These amazing beings even use this sense to sneak up on their prey and make surprise attacks.

There are eight different species of octopus that belong to the class cephalopod. Each type has its unique characteristics, like its size, colour, and shape.

But do octopuses have gills?

Read this article to find out more about whether octopuses have gills and some amazing facts about them!

What Is A Gill?

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A gill is a respiratory organ that enables aquatic animals to take in oxygen and is also thought of as the most primitive organ in the body. They are found on fish, amphibians, reptiles, and cephalopods.

Gills are normally covered with a thin, translucent membrane that is made up of connective tissue.

Once oxygen molecules enter the gill, they pass through the tissue to reach low levels of moisture and food particles.

Then the water passes over a series of microscopic openings in millions of tiny chambers called lamella that form channels.

However, this process does not happen instantaneously because there is a need for a chemical reaction between dissolved gases and organic compound proteins found in seawater.

In octopuses, their complex digestive system allows them to obtain water and food.

However, unlike most fish or amphibians that swim with their gills open to obtain oxygen from the surrounding atmosphere, octopuses tend to keep their tentacles closed while floating on the water surface.

Even though they do not have lungs, they still need a type of organ called ‘gill plate’ on some part of their body usually on the face.

Octopus has two tubular gills attached to their heads that are used for breathing water, but they can also function as primitive lungs by expanding into small bags that serve as air sacs.

What Are Octopuses And Their Abilities?


Octopus is a class of marine cephalopods that first appeared during the Jurassic period. They have a soft, squishy body with eight arms, resembling an octopus’s head and mantle.

The word “octopus” comes from the Ancient Greek oktopous, meaning “eight-footed”.

Many species of octopus can camouflage themselves by changing their skin pigment and body shape. This ability has been used in science fiction films such as Aliens and Avatar.

Octopuses can be found in most of the world’s oceans.

They prefer to stay away from shallow waters with minimal lighting around blips on their radar due to rapidly changing water temperatures and pressures caused by waves.

The most common octopus species is the Pacific Giant Octopus which can grow up to three meters across and weigh 300 kilograms. Their lifespan can reach up to 20 years old!

Some other species of octopi include the Common Octopus, Wolf’s Octopus, Brown Octopus, and Horned Octopus.

Why Does Octopus Have Gills?

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An octopus breathes in the same way that fish breathe, which is through gills. 

However, because octopus cannot breathe air like fish and it is also a cold-blooded animal (lacks functioning red blood cells – lacks an internal thermostat – to regulate its body temperature), it has evolved other methods for surviving in the water.

A new study has found that octopuses have gills. Gills are located on both sides of their head and can be long and slender or short and stubby depending upon the species of octopus.

The gills enable an octopus to breathe in oxygen and then exhale through a tube called a siphon.

These gills produce tiny air bubbles because they have a tiny internal structure. The oxygen from the air bubbles travels to their mouth instead of traveling through their red blood cells.

An octopus can pull water in and out its gills 240 times per minute

Some researchers also explain this by saying that octopuses do not breathe through the lungs.

They believe the gills in their tentacles help them extract oxygen dissolved in the water around coral reefs.

Necessary Evolutions Octopuses were once predators who must have had fins and lungs like all other animals do to be able to live on.

Once they went to the sea, they didn’t have fins or lungs, so now that it is more advantageous for them to stay in the water.

Their respiratory system has changed into gills without the use of the lung because there are many benefits to this evolution.

Things like detecting movement using stinging cells instead of feathers helped octopuses become aquatic creatures with unique abilities.

The fact that octopuses float instead of the swim when under stress lends support to the hypothesis.

If we consider “floatation respiration” as a way for small invertebrates to survive in air-saturated water, it makes sense.

Octopuses also have a single hole where they breathe, and each tentacle has an elastic tube with which to inhale and exhale.

5 Interesting Facts About Octopuses


Octopuses are powerful swimmers who burst out of the water with limbs spread wide, jetting through the air. The arms even have suction cups on them to snatch their prey.

They also possess two hearts and two gills, which help them survive in saltwater bodies. Octopuses can grow to 3 meters in length and weigh up to 100 kilograms.

1) Octopuses use ink for defense.

Octopus blood is blue because of the high levels of iodine in their bodies.

There’s only a small amount of yolk-based hemoglobin (red blood cells), which means that there are fewer red blood cells per unit volume than any other creature on earth.

A study discovered that the colour becomes darker as they get older. At age 20, an octopus ‘blood’ is dark enough to disguise itself in the shadow of a rock nearby where it’s hiding from predators!

After being stung by their colour-changing cousins, however, they can evolve into all black or brown pigments that do not allow them to change back.

2) The average lifespan of an octopus is 3 to 5 years.

Some octopuses live 3 to 5 years, while others live up to 30. The life span depends on whether or not they are maintained in captivity.

This age varies according to size, species of octopus, and condition, which is understandable because the smaller an animal is at birth or otherwise it needs more food than larger animals.

When octopuses reach reproductive age in their early twenties – around the start of year one for humans – they rarely reproduce again. In captivity, however, this is driven by a desire to mate and increase numbers.

As an octopus matures, its heart starts working more slowly, and the rate at which it grows decreases – even reaching a point where growth ceases completely due to lack of nutrition!

3) There are over 300 species of octopus.

While it might seem that, when you add up the number of tentacles plus their length and weight, there could be similarities between them all.

But in reality, there are over 300 known species so far and this count is even larger than we thought.

It seems that more unexplored octopuses have been discovered since all these animals were enumerated.  

In particular, 500 total species of octopus are being re-classified from the group ‘Octiidae’. This is because they do not fit into any previously assigned category in which they would be classified.

More species are still being identified. Whereas everybody knows octopuses, they’re usually not aware of their internal anatomy!

4) Octopuses can change colors and textures.

Octopuses can change their colour, texture, and even pattern at will. White octopuses, for instance, can change skin colour into blue or even red by stretching out the skin.

They are well-known for their ability to change appearance. But the fact is that there are hardly any common characteristics among octopus male and female, not even in terms of colour.

When escaping predators they use their arms to create a white glow of light around themselves that is so bright it would attract potential enemies away from them!

Octopuses are very smart when it comes time to protect themselves.

Some species can even manipulate their skin pigment.

They can change how their skin is deposited by bacteria near the surface so that they appear almost luminous, dimly-lit patterns in the middle of dark crevices where predators could not see them.

These patterns signify that the octopus was there before and will suggest a hiding place.

They can also more heavily stain their skin to create a more striking colour contrast, making them even harder for predators to see in dark crevices.

This is because different types of bacteria produce these pigments which are then picked up by each cell separately (similar to how changes in density could lead red blood cells into lighter areas during stress).

5) Octopus walks on water webs instead of limbs! The feelers serve as “tentacles” rather than legs.

When you think of tentacles, they look like things very far away from the rest of the body of the octopus. But most (about 70% at least) are actually within its skin tissue.

Usually, it will be quite close to the bone boundaries giving them some degree of support for muscle control with subcutaneous ligaments holding them in place.

Here is where all our artistic interpretations go wrong! They tend to show that Octopuses have these long thin arms or tentacles used for all their movements (hence the name!).

Octopuses use feelers as their main “legs”. Take the blue-ringed octopus, for instance, that swims with its eight pairs of legs and two triangular tentacle feelers.

Octopuses will use their arms only when they want to move fast using extended appendages that it does not have enough control over (something like picking up an egg or helping a cocoon hatch).

Conclusion: Do Octopus Have Gills

Octopuses do indeed have gills. The gills are found on their sides between pairs of arms, just behind the head.

They are difficult to spot due to the fast movement underwater, but there are tiny indentations that look like the extensions of gills if they are cut down.

Gills can also be found on some other mollusks for instance the Branchiuriidae family of squids with which they are related.

Sniff Around  Is a top blog that talks about Pet animals and various types of animal. Also talks about how they live and interact with people and environment.

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