How do you find an Octopus?

Ever been on a dive and wondered how your buddy or dive guide has found the octopus? Did you think that it was maybe just good luck? Well not necessarily. There are a few tricks that you can use to help you find some of the more camouflaged critters.  

The Beatles sang about an octopus’s garden. And one of the ways to find them is actually by looking for their gardens.  With their boneless bodies, octopuses can squeeze into small and awkward spaces. In the volcanic rocks we get here you can look between and under boulders and in cracks and crevices.  The gardens, surrounding the entrance to the den, are made up of smaller rocks and also shells. These shells are left over from their food, here the brown coloured clams are the ones that stand out the most. 

Another way to find them here is by looking for Flag Cabrillas, also known as starry groupers. If you see these fish in groups then it’s quite likely that there may be an octopus den very close.  Why these fish hang out around the octopus dens is another question.  Maybe they are there to grab scraps that may come from the octopuses food? They hunt at night but maybe take food to eat at home?

If you are able to find an octopus den then, of course, the octopus might not be home.  Apparently they change their homes every 10-14 days.  

And occasionally you can be really lucky and find 2 octopuses in homes next door to each other, presumably a mating pair!

Octopuses or Octopi?

A much debated issue is whether to use the word Octopuses or Octopi when you are talking about multiples of one of our favourite cephalopods.  

Octopuses follows the most common way of forming plurals in the English language and is probably the most widely used. 

Octopi seems to be the oldest used form of the plural. It would be correct if the word octopus were of Latin derivation, but it originally came from Greek (although it did pass through the Latin language on it’s way to English).   

So officially that would make Octopodes the correct plural, the least used and hardest to pronounce (stress is on the 2nd syllable).

We’ll stick with the two most commonly accepted choices!  

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