Don’t all sea creatures breathe the same way? It is common thinking that all marine organisms breathe similarly but this is not true. They have different ways of breathing such as some of them breathe with their gills, some through their skin, and some by gulping gas in their gallbladder.
If we talk about Octopus, it is a really different and amazing marine mollusk that has so many crazy features. It is basic that all living things need oxygen for breathing and surviving. An octopus might look different from other fish and sea organisms but they also need oxygen to live.
But wait, the octopus has a really amazing feature of having 3 hearts, so does it breathe any differently? Let’s dive into the fascinating world of the octopus and explore how this eight-legged marvel manages to breathe underwater.
Octopus is a bilaterally symmetrical creature having 8 arms and one mantle that extends from the head and contains 2 sets of gills. Every arm has 2 rows of suckers totaling 1920 for 8 arms.
The mantle of the octopus encloses all its major organs including its 3 hearts; two branchial and one systemic heart. The two sets of gills have 2 separate hearts, one in each to pump blood to it while the third heart pumps blood to the whole body.
How Does Octopus Breathe?
Octopus had a specialized respiratory system. Octopus like most other fish breathe through their gills which are made of multiple feathery filaments. The 2 gills are present on each side of the mantle cavity and have hearts.
The oxygen needs of octopus are more than other fish and mollusks because of the three hearts. This is why they have gills with large surface areas so octopuses can carry more oxygen per breath.
The octopus breathes through their gills by inhaling (breathing in) oxygen from the water and then exhaling through its siphon. The processes are interlinked and are further described below.
Octopus breathes by inhaling, where it extracts oxygen from the water in their mantle cavity from where the water moves into the small gills present inside this cavity. The capillaries in the fish pull the dissolved oxygen from the water and transport it to the body while expelling the water out.
After inhalation, the octopus takes a huge breath and exhales the carbon dioxide into the water with its siphon where the mantle contracts.
The three hearts pump the used blood to the gills and carry fresh oxygen from the water. The blood that contains more oxygen (oxygen-rich) moves to the main heart where it is transported to the whole body.
When an octopus inhales and exhales quickly and hard, it can move in a jet propulsion movement.
Can Octopus Stay Out of Water?
No, the octopus cannot stay out of the water as they do not have any system to breathe outside. They only depend on their gills to get oxygen from water to breathe. They belong to the Cephalopod family, known as head-foots.
An octopus lacks the necessary adaptations to extract oxygen from the air, and when removed from the water, it rapidly begins to suffocate. Its survival outside water is limited to just a few minutes.
The octopus breathes through their gills by inhaling oxygen from the water and then exhaling carbon dioxide through its siphon. It extracts oxygen from the water in its mantle cavity. The hearts pump the used blood to the gills and carry fresh oxygen from the water while the oxygen-rich blood moves to the main heart where it is transported to the whole body.