Surf's Up Magazine

Octopus Suction Cups

  • Date: February 26, 2024
  • Time to read: 3 min.

Conspicuous due to their unparalleled size, the giant Pacific octopus is widely renowned for its remarkable intelligence. This majestic species stands out as the largest of all types of octopuses most notably due to its octopus suction cups.

Unsurprisingly, their gargantuan size affects not only the stature of their body but also the power of their suction cups.

Are you curious about the number of suction cups on a giant pacific octopus and how powerful they are? Then continue reading to discover more information about their gripping strength!

octopus suction cups
Octopus Suction Cups

What are the Suction Cups on an Octopus Called?

Octopus suction cups are simply called suckers. The soft and squishy part of the sucker which is most visible is called the infundibulum. This is surrounded on the outer edge by a rim of mucous-like epithelium. 

How Many Suction Cups does an Octopus Have?

Equipped with an astounding 2,240 suction cups apiece, the eight arms of an octopus use every single one to discern flavor, cling on and detect odors.

Although octopuses have no teeth, their suckers are equipped with up to 280 per arm. These suction cups enable them to move and explore their environment as well as grab hold of prey.

The suckers of octopus are phenomenally strong! These muscular structures not only help them grip, but they also enable them to taste and smell.

Astonishingly, each of an octopus’s suckers possesses more taste receptors than a human tongue! Moreover, the individual suction cups on its body are also individually controlled.

Thanks to the neural concentration in their arms, these sea creatures have an impressive ability to rotate, grasp and interact with surfaces. In other words, the majority of their neurons are located within those very same appendages!

Each arm is equipped with an almost “mini brain” at its base to assist in controlling the suction cups and assimilating external data from the atmosphere.

Thanks to its widespread neuron distribution, even when detached from the main body an octopus’s arm can continue to operate independently for a few moments. It will still be able to slither around and use its suction cups.

Compared to most octopuses, the suckers of the Giant Pacific Octopus are nothing short of colossal. With some being measured at a whopping 2.5 inches!

octopus tentacles
Octopus Tentacles with Suckers

How Strong are Octopus Suction Cups?

How powerful are these tentacles? Unbelievably, the suction cups of a giant pacific octopus boast remarkable strength.

With the aid of their small muscular build, animals can manipulate objects such as prey and even untwist jars or medication bottles with a simple pull!

Unbelievably, the largest suction cups situated near its beak have an unfathomable capacity to lift up to 35 pounds each! It is truly a wonder of nature.

What Happens if an Octopus Touches You?

Now that we have acknowledged these suckers are highly potent and intended for gripping. What if an octopus clings onto you?

If an octopus wraps its tentacles around you, it can be hard to detach them on account of their remarkable strength and size. Notably so strong that they could potentially leave bruises which look the same as a hickey would appear on human skin.

However, it is not the suction cups that you need to fear. If an octopus manages to ensnare you with its arms, it may use its sharp beak to deliver a venomous bite that could lead to infection but won’t kill humans. The saliva of the giant pacific octopus contains potential toxins which make such bites dangerous and potentially hazardous for your health.

You may be feeling a bit disconcerted after discovering the intimidating physique of these sea creatures. However it is essential to remember that they are unlikely to attack unless provoked.

how many suction cups does an octopus have
Octopus Swimming

An Incredible Feature

The suction cups of an octopus and all other species in the same family are a remarkable adaptation that truly showcases evolution’s power.

Without its thousands of suckers, this creature may find it challenging to protect itself and secure sustenance for survival.

The astounding suckers of the giant pacific octopus are a marvel of nature. Capable not only of tremendous strength but also amazing movement!

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