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Octopus: The Ocean's Intelligent Invertebrate [Kindle Edition]

Roland C. Anderson , Jennifer A. Mather , James B. Wood
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The visually arresting and often misunderstood octopus has long captured popular imagination. With an alien appearance and an uncanny intellect, this exceptional sea creature has inspired fear in famous lore and legends - from the giant octopus attack in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea to Ursula the sea witch in The Little Mermaid. Yet its true nature is more wondrous still. After decades of research, the authors reveal a sensitive, curious, and playful animal with remarkable intelligence, an ability to defend itself with camouflage and jet propulsion, an intricate nervous system, and advanced problem-solving abilities.

In this beautifully photographed book, three leading marine biologists bring readers face to face with these amazingly complex animals that have fascinated scientists for decades. From the molluscan ancestry of today’s octopus to its ingenious anatomy, amazing mating and predatory behaviors, and other-worldly relatives, the authors take readers through the astounding life cycle, uncovering the details of distinctive octopus personalities. With personal narratives, underwater research, stunning closeup photography, and thoughtful guidance for keeping octopuses in captivity, Octopus is the first comprehensive natural history of this smart denizen of the sea.

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Product Description


"[The authors] authoritatively describe all the attributes of this fascinating creature."""

About the Author

Jennifer A. Mather is a leading researcher on octopuses, concentrating on their behavior and personalities. She has been publishing articles on cephalopods since 1978. At the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada, where she is a professor of psychology, she teaches a variety of courses including studies of aging and perception. Jennifer grew up in Victoria, on the Pacific coast of Canada, where she acquired her lifelong fascination with cephalopods. She prefers to do field research, and has done so in a variety of pleasant locations including Bermuda, Hawaii, and the Caribbean. Besides the comparative study of behavior and cognition, she is interested in the roles and status of women in science and in excellence in university teaching. Jennifer holds a Master's degree from Florida State University and a doctorate from Brandeis University in Boston. When not working, she's a dedicated bird watcher and energetic cook and gardener. Roland C. Anderson, a former biologist at the Seattle Aquarium, has observed octopuses in captivity and in the wild for more than 30 years. He is particularly interested in the natural history, behavior, and aquarium husbandry of marine invertebrates and especially the cold water cephalopods of Puget Sound, about which he has published numerous articles. The son of a sea captain, he grew up near the ocean where he became an avid scuba diver. He retired from the Seattle Aquarium in 2009 after 31 years of service. Long fascinated by malacology (the study of mollusks), he has served as president for the Western Society of Malacologists and the American Malacological Society. He is currently an editor for the journal Diseases of Aquatic Organisms. He received his Ph.D. in Marine Biology from Greenwich University (Hilo, HI) in 2000. James B. Wood is the director of education at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California. An accomplished underwater photographer, he is especially interested in cephalopod behavior, husbandry, and physiology, and science education. Webmaster of the Cephalopod Page, one of the longest running biological Web sites, James is a founding executive member of and a staff member of, an online cephalopod enthusiast community. He has worked with the Census of Marine Life since 1998 and codeveloped a pilot species database for cephalopods, CephBase. He earned his Ph.D. in biology at Dalhousie University. He was previously an assistant research scientist at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences and an adjunct professor at Duke University.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2371 KB
  • Print Length: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Timber Press (1 Nov. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00D38IZ1C
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #232,868 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tentacular 24 Jun. 2011
Informative, inspiring and thought-provoking, this book is aimed at readers of popular science or natural history, and may well lead to further investigation of a fascinating subject. Although the photographs are very good, it would benefit from more illustrations.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Cephalopod geek's dream 11 Aug. 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A great introduction to one of the little known zoological marvels that are octopuses, exactly what I wanted! Lots of examples, case studies and interesting facts to get me hooked on learning more about cephalopods. Lifetime obsession has begun.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.2 out of 5 stars  30 reviews
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars OCTOPUS 28 Jun. 2010
By Joseph R. Calamia - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
"Octopus"; The Ocean's Intelligent Invertebrate (A Natural History) by Mather, Anderson, and Wood is an extremely informative encapsulated history of perhaps, one of the most least understood, least appreciated, and yet most interesting animals in this world. Here then is an animal with three hearts, eight legs, and a cognitive mental capacity and personality to rival some of the more common mammals.

The authors of this book take the reader through the tragically short life span of an Octopus from the egg to the adult. The writers also maintained an aura of scientific study and terminology, but had the common sense to utilize a layman's "story quality" style of writing so that... even the "scientific challenged" like me could understand exactly what was being stated.

If you have an interest in oceanography, wildlife, and nature, then I can guarantee... you will not be disappointed with this book! In addition there are some 38 magnificent color photographs of various octopuses to "stoke the embers" of the readers interest in the subject matter held at arms length (all eight of them)!
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent nature history of the octopus 18 Oct. 2010
By Midwest Book Review - Published on
Octopus: The Ocean's Intelligent Invertebrate provides an excellent nature history of the octopus, pairing lovely photos with the insights of three leading marine biologists to offer general readers an easy introduction to octopus natural history. From its evolution and history to its anatomy, behaviors and more, this offers the first in-depth, dedicated natural history of the octopus and is a pick for any general science or lending library's collection.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Curious, cautious, or just in love 12 Mar. 2012
By WarriorDiva - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
....with Octopus, this book is for you. As a National Zoo volunteer, I have the wonderful oppportunity to help feed and discuss a Giant Pacific Octopus and this book has really helped step up my knowledge about these wonderful creatures. Written in plain english, it leaves out most of the scientific jargon while still educating the reader. The contributors first hand knowledge, from observing and keeping Octopus is a valuable resource and a fascinating read.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Octopuses? More like “Rock-topuses!” 1 May 2015
By VampireCowboy - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
For (hopefully) obvious reasons, here are eight ways octopuses — and this book — rock:

1) Octopuses (and not, as I learned, “octopi”) are fascinating, smart and have distinct personalities; they are able to solve problems and learn new strategies (though, like some other unnamed animals [hint: humans], they still have behavioral blind spots that no amount of new data inputs can override).

2) They are masters of camouflage, able to blend in with any number of environmental backgrounds and even move patterns across the surface of their bodies like fleshy LED banners.

3) As an extension of #2, they can do all this even though their eyes are color blind, which makes me wonder if they have some kind of crazy, eyeless physical sight in their skin/appendages.

4) Even though this is related to squid and not octopuses, some may have a visual language on their skin to share information with fellow squid; in other words, they’re “living books.”

5) The authors are clearly experts with tons of shared experience with, and empathy for, octopuses, and the book is sprinkled with meaningful personal anecdotes.

6) Octopuses are mostly solitary, have boring sex lives that always end in senescence and they die young. The males basically fumble around with their arms, squirt some sperm and then get sick and die … or, more usually, are eaten by sharks and seals.

7) Octopus mothers are awesomely attentive to their eggs, carefully hanging up strands of thousands and thousands of eggs they carefully tending to them until just about the time they hatch. Then get sick and die. Or are eaten. And all the little babies whoosh out into the ocean where most are eaten. But a few live.

8) The whole ink thing is insane. Some can squirt out ink with such control, they can make a cloud that hides escape, or retains shape enough that it looks like a solid octopus. They can squirt out a couple of those, then change their skin color to match and all of sudden, a predator is faced with a bunch of inky duplicates hanging in the water that may or may not be the real deal. And some, down in the depths where light can’t reach and ink is meaningless, can squirt out glowing, bioluminescent ink!

Octopuses rock and this book is a great way to learn more about them. The Kindle version (at least on my Paperwhite) doesn’t do justice to the images, but that’s what YouTube is for. Read it if you want to learn more about cephalopods or be inspired by the mysteries of the ocean (or build your own aquarium; I skipped that section — leave the octopuses free in the sea).
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars amazing book, amazing animal 27 May 2010
By Ruth Yeomans - Published on
This book is worth the price for the photos alone, and is worth the price for the text alone. All three authors are recognized experts in their fields. The writing is entertaining, without talking down to well-educated readers. How I would love to be a scuba diver so I could visit these amazing creatures in their natural homes! The next best thing is to visit them in reputable aquariums and to savor this book.
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