October 8, 2012 - International Cephalopod Awareness Days Begin!

ICAD is the annual five-day-long celebration of the most intelligent invertebrates (animals without backbones) in the world. Tomorrow night is Nautilus Night, Wednesday is Squid Day, Thursday is “Release the Kraken!” Day (a day to celebrate the fantastic cephalopods of myth and legend), and Friday finishes off with Cephalophossil Day (coordinating with National Fossil Day, this day celebrates cephalopod fossils).

And today is Octopus Day!

What do we do on Octopus Day?

We celebrate all the eight-armed-and-no-tentacles cephalopods! (Squid and cuttlefish have eight arms but also two tentacles, so they have ten long, flexible appendages.)

Wait...what's the difference between an arm and a tentacle?

Cephalopod tentacles only have suckers at the end, and cephalopod arms have suckers along their entire length.

But a lot of sources I am finding use arms and tentacles in the same way. So you'll read in some places that octopi have eight tentacles and squid have ten tentacles, for example.

 Wait, wait, wait...what's a cephalopod?

The Greek word part “cephalo-” means “head,” and “-pod” means “foot.” So the name of this group of animals means “head-footed.” That is because these mollusks have larger, more important heads and larger brains than other mollusks such as clams and snails. And that's why these creatures are smarter.

Most cephalopods are hunters, and you have to be smart to be a successful hunter. (A few cephalopods are scavengers rather than hunters. In other words, they eat scraps of dead bodies.)


  • Eat special Octopus Day foods, like octopops and “octopus” soup (don't worryit's not made with octopus!heck, it's not even soup!). 

Also on this date:

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