Synopses & Reviews
and#160;Our relationship to the octopus dates back to prehistory, when the eight-armed animal was depicted on vases and found in stone carvings from ancient Greece. Now we appreciate them for their abilities as escape artists, with sophisticated camouflage systems and ink jetsandmdash;as well as their roles in tasty dishes from many cuisines. Octopuses are also among the most intelligent invertebrates in the world, with mental capacity comparable to that of a dog. In this heavily illustrated book, Richard Schweid details this animalandrsquo;s remarkable natural history and its multifaceted relationship with humans.and#160;Schweid describes the octopusandrsquo;s intelligence, defense mechanisms, and short lifespan. He shows how some people have considered octopuses as nothing more than a meal and examines their role in the modern global fish and seafood industry. Other cultures, he reveals, see them as erotic totems or symbols of the darkest evils, and he discusses the difficulties people face when trying to keep them as petsandmdash;they are able to use their problem-solving skills, mobility, and boneless body to escape seemingly secure tanks. A fascinating glimpse into the extraordinary world of these popular creatures, Octopus will immerse readers in its amazing undersea world.
"[The authors] authoritatively describe all the attributes of this fascinating creature."
and#8220;Schweid delivers the abundance of information inand#160;Octopus
and#160;in a clear and concise style, and his text is accompanied by dozens of color illustrations, including beautiful photographs of the animals and an array of images from art and folklore. The book is an enjoyable and compact guide to one of natureand#8217;s more peculiar creations.and#8221;
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.
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