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Octopus: The Ocean's Intelligent Invertebrate Hardcover – May 21, 2010

4.3 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

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

About the Author

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.


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.


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 (www.thecephalopodpage.org), one of the longest running biological Web sites, James is a founding executive member of MarineBio.org and a staff member of TONMO.com, 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.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Timber Press; First American Edition edition (May 21, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1604690674
  • ISBN-13: 978-1604690675
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 0.9 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #192,884 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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.
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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)!
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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.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book gave me much information about octopuses (it's a Greek word not a Latin one) plus a lot on other sea creatures. I felt like I was in a classroom learning all about octopuses (but no exams or quizzes) from excellent teachers who explained in clear language how the critter is composed, how it eats, where it lives. There are plenty of entertaining stories such as the one about the vet who discovered their suckers are as agile as our thumb-finger arrangement. I found this book to be highly informative, easy to read, entertaining and very enlightening. But I still think octopuses are very ugly.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
An excellent coverage of the latest research on the Octopus. Written in a manner that makes it accessible to the layperson. The sad thing about the book is that the author (Roland C. Anderson) passed away unexpectedly this year.

Highly Recommended
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Format: Hardcover
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.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am a big fan and admirer of this animal. Having been a skindiver for years I am always marveling at the Oct's intelligence and camoflage. This book gives me new insight to how an octo thinks, reacts and lives. Besides its great table fare.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Entertaining and intellectual, THE best book on octopus by far. Written in a form that can be enjoyed by both the general public and those with a scientific background. All animals are interesting, but I never thought I would "like" an invertebrate.
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