There are around 300 known octopus species in the world. Those odd-looking creatures from the deep sea, adorned with sucker-lined limbs and an elongated body resembling a bulbous head, were portrayed as sea monsters in mythology, especially in the legends of Norway and Greece. In 1818, English biologist William Leach gave their order the scientific name Octopoda. Contrary to popular belief, though, they do not have eight arms. They actually have six arms and two legs, a team of European scientists at Sea Life aquariums reported in 2008. The two rearmost limbs act as legs, propelling the octopus efficiently across the ocean floor.
Octopuses get a leg up:
- Researchers explained that they use their two rear limbs “to get around over rocks and the seabed. They also use these two legs to push off when they wish to swim, and then other tentacles are used to propel them.”
- The purpose of the study was to see if octopuses favored one side or the other. The researchers found that octopuses are ambidextrous. In addition, they found that many octopuses use the third arm from the front to eat.
- At a Sea Life Centre in Oberhausen, Germany, Paul the Octopus became a soccer sensation when he correctly predicted numerous games in UEFA Euro 2008 and the 2010 World Cup -- including correctly picking Spain as the winner of the World Cup final.