|19. The Cephalopod Page; Octopuses, Squid, Cuttlefish, And Nautilus |
Provides an indepth guide to this series of mollusks. See species profiles, FAQs, mailing lists, articles, and links. Cephalopods, the group in which scientists classify octopuses, squid, cuttlefish and nautiluses can do all these things
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About The Cephalopod Page
Table of Contents Introduction to Cephalopods
Cephalopod Species, Information, and Photographs
CephBase Scientific cephalopod database
by Wood, Day and O'Dor
In House Articles
Sources of Live Cephalopods
What's New ...
Cephalopods in the News
James' Marine Life Postcards Want to learn more about Cephalopods? References and Credits Introduction to Cephalopods
What group of animals can change color faster than a chameleon plus change texture and body shape, has three hearts pumping blue blood, is jet powered, has members in all oceans of the world - from the tropics to the poles - the intertidal to the abyss, has inspired legends and stories since recorded history, is thought to be the most intelligent of invertebrates and yet is related to animals such as clams and oysters, has members that can squeeze through the tiniest of cracks, is related to garden slugs yet has eyes and other senses that rival our own, and can make their own 'smoke screen' or 'decoys' out of ink? Cephalopods, the group in which scientists classify octopuses, squid, cuttlefish and nautiluses can do all these things and more. Octopuses, squids, cuttlefish and the chambered nautilus belong to class Cephalopoda, which means 'head foot'. Cephalopods are mollusks and therefore are related to bivalves (scallops, oysters, clams), gastropods (snails and slugs), scaphopoda (tusk shells), and polyplacophorans (chitons). Some of these mollusks, like the bivalves, don't even have a head, much less something large enough to be called a brain! Yet cephalopods have well developed senses and large brains and are thought to be the most intelligent of all invertebrates. Most mollusks are protected by a shell and many of them are not very mobile. Although the ancient nautilus has an external shell, the trend in cephalopods is to internalize and reduce the shell. The shell in cuttlefish, when present, is internal. The cuttlebone from cuttlefish is sold in many pet shops to supply calcium to birds. Squid also have a reduced internal shell called a pen. Octopuses lack a shell all together.