American Oceans

How Many Suction Cups Does an Octopus Have?

The giant pacific octopus is known for its intelligence and immense size. They are easy to distinguish being the largest species of octopus.

octopus species showing number of suction cups

As you can imagine, their great size not only determines the magnitude of their body, but also their suction cups.

So how many suction cups does the giant pacific octopus have? And how strong are they? Read on to find out and learn more about the power of suction cups!

How Many Suction Cups are on Each Tentacle?

All eight arms of an octopus have a whopping 2,240 suction cups, each used to taste, grip and smell.

octopus arm showing suction cups on tentacle

However, each arm of the octopus can have up to 280 suckers each. Octopuses suction cups don’t contain any teeth.

They’re considered to be muscular structures and they can be used to taste, smell, and grip. The suction cups of octopus are so powerful.

In fact, each one has more taste receptors than that of a human tongue! Surprisingly, the suckers on an octopus are individually controlled.

tentacle suction cups individually controlled by octopus

This means they can be isolated to rotate, grasp, and feel surfaces. This is due to the fact that the majority of the sea creature’s neurons are actually located within its arms.

Each arm has been described to have an almost “mini brain” at its base to help control the suction cups and take in external information from the environment.

As a result of the neuron distribution, if an octopus’ arm is detached from its body, it can continue to move around and use its suction cups for a short period of time.

octopus tentacle

Most octopus have suction cups about the size of a quarter or smaller, but giant pacific octopus cups have been measured up to 2.5 inches.

How Strong are an Octopuses Suction Cups?

So, how strong are these suckers? The suction cups of the giant pacific octopus are incredibly strong.

These small muscles allow the animal to grasp surfaces, pull apart prey, and even unscrew jars and pill bottles!

Believe it or not, the largest suction cups, located near the beak of the animal, are even stronger. These suckers can lift up to 35 pounds each!

What Happens if an Octopus Touches You?

Alright, we’ve established these suction cups are extremely powerful and are made for grasping, so what happens if an octopus grabs you?

Well, if an octopus attached its suction cups to you, it could be difficult to remove them due to their strength and size. They’re so strong they can actually leave bruises similar to a hickey on the human skin.

However, suction cups are not the part of the octopus you should be concerned about. If one of these animals is able to trap you with its arms, it may use its sharp beak to bite you.

The saliva of the giant pacific octopus is venomous and can lead to infection, but can’t kill humans.

After hearing about the threatening anatomy of these sea creatures, you may be feeling a bit unnerved. However, it is important to note these animals are not likely to attack, unless they’re provoked.

An Amazing Adaptation

The bottom line is the suction cups of an octopus and all other octopuses are an incredible adaptation.

Without the thousands of suckers, this animal would have a hard time defending itself, feeding, and surviving overall.

There’s no doubt the suction cups of the giant pacific octopus are intriguing due to their strength and ability to move independently.

Although, we don’t recommend you go give these animals a hug anytime soon!

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