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Sunday, May 30, 2010

Pottery Barn Sea-Life Napkin Rings

I was walking around Pottery Barn yesterday and happened to come across these aquatic napkin rings featuring our friend, the octopus.

Product Description
Bring aquatic style to your table with our glass sea creatures. Each is pulled into lifelike detail by craftsmen working in the pre-Renaissance art of lampworking.
Handmade of clear silica glass.
Set of 4 includes starfish, jellyfish, octopus and crab.
$49 per set

Monday, May 24, 2010

Ancient Octopus Mystery Resolved

By Rosalind Pidcock
Science reporter, BBC News

May 19, 2010

Trapped air in the shells of rare octopuses is the key to their survival in the deep sea, say scientists.

Females of the argonaut family (Argonautidae) release trapped air from their shells to control very precisely their movement through the water.

This ability has puzzled naturalists for over 2,000 years, dating back to observations made by Aristotle in 300 BC.

Research published in the Royal Society journal, Proceedings B, finally explains why it may have evolved.

The Australian researchers describe how the mechanism enables the creatures to conserve energy, avoid predators and protect eggs during the brooding stage.

The study, led by Dr Julian Finn of Museum Victoria in Melbourne, is the first to observe directly how this unique species of octopus captures air at the sea surface and uses it to its advantage.

"It wasn't until I actually got an argonaut in the water that I really saw the true marvel of these animals," said Dr Finn.

Unlike any other species of octopus, the female argonaut, which can be up to 50cm (20 inches) in length, makes itself a paper-thin shell. It secretes this shell, made of calcium carbonate, from two web structures on the sides of its body.

The males are much smaller, typically only a centimetre in length, and do not produce shells.

Mythical Creatures
Air pockets have been observed before within the shells of both wild and captive argonauts, also known as "paper nautiluses", but their origin and purpose has until now been a mystery.

"This mythical story began around the time of Aristotle that the argonaut female actually lived in the shell and raised those webs as sails as she sailed across the ocean," explained Dr Finn.

The new findings show that the female argonaut takes in air at the sea surface through a funnel as it rotates its shell anti-clockwise. It then seals off an air pocket in the top, or apex, of the shell using a second webbed pair of tentacles.

As it dives to depths of up to 750m (almost half a mile) below the surface, it adjusts the amount of air in its shell to match its own density with that of the seawater, keeping it "neutrally buoyant" and enabling it to swim effortlessly.

This contrasts with most other cephalopods - the class of animals that includes octopuses, squid and cuttlefish - which expend vast amounts of energy to maintain their position.

Underwater Control
The female argonaut can also counteract the considerable weight of its eggs, which it releases into its shell during the reproductive period, to carefully avoid bumping them on the sea floor.

By keeping a safe position in mid-water, argonauts can also steer clear of disturbance by surface waves and predators from above, such as birds.

Once believed to hinder the females, it is now thought that argonauts evolved this remarkable mechanism from ancestors that lived on the seafloor, allowing the species to expand its range into mid-depths.

"The female argonaut knows exactly what she was doing. Underwater she was completely in control," added Dr Finn.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Dragon Ball Octopapa

Everything Octopus reader, Michelle my Bell, alerted me to the dark and sinister Dragon Ball character that is OCTOPAPA!!!

Octopapa is a giant octopus Goku encounters in the pirate cave. He was mistook for a spider which got him angry and he wanted to eat Goku. Goku ends up frying him with a Kamehameha Wave and eating him. According to Goku he apparently tastes like chicken.

Thanks, Michelle!

Monday, May 17, 2010

An Octopus Affair Party Pics!

A couple weeks ago, Everything Octopus reader, Kevin Muncie, threw a fabulous octopus-themed party entitled An Octopus Affair. Here are some pics showing what creative and crafty friends Kevin has (o)(O)(o)(O)(o)>

Saturday, May 15, 2010

London Design Festival to Bring Robot Octopus to Trafalgar Square

That's what the world needs...more robot octopuses!!! Read the article below to hear all about how the octopus is wrapping its arms around the world, one city at a time!

May 14, 2010
Written by Angus Montgomery,

Trafalgar Square is to play host to a giant ‘mechanical octopus’ as part of this year’s London Design Festival.

The Outrace installation, created by German/Swedish consultancy Kram/Weisshaar, will be in place throughout the festival, which runs from 18-26 September.

The installation uses six industrial robotic arms from the Audi production line, which will project light traces into the air. The public will be able to control the arms to draw and write texts in light – the resulting images will be captured by long-exposure cameras and displayed online.

Kram/Weisshaar’s Reed Kram, who describes the installation as ‘an immense mechanical octopus’, says, ‘We wanted to allow people to control these beasts.’

Additional projects for this year’s LDF include the Size & Matter installation, by Paul Cocksedge Studio. This installation, set for the South Bank, will comprise three distorted metallic discs, which Cocksedge likens to 3m-diameter 1p pieces which have been dropped from the sky.

The discs will be magnetised to attract copper coinage. Cocksedge says this will allow people to ‘decorate, donate to and change the sculpture’.

Stuart Haygarth, Max Lamb and writers’ group 26 will be creating installations for the Victoria & Albert Museum, and Neville Brody is plotting an Anti Design Festival, from a Shoreditch base.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

And the Winner is...


(You can email me at with shipping info)


Thank you, everyone, for your awesome entries into the cephalo-word contest! I feel privileged to have such talented and creative readers. Please keep coming by and reading Everything Octopus, and continue to contribute your wonderful selves to the blog!

More contests coming this summer!