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The Oxford English Dictionary lists "octopuses", "octopi", and "octopodes", in that order, reflecting frequency of use, calling "octopodes" rare and noting that "octopi" is based on a misunderstanding.

The giant Pacific octopus Enteroctopus dofleini is often cited as the largest known octopus species. The head includes the mouth and brain. The foot has evolved into a set of flexible, prehensile appendagesknown as "arms", that surround the mouth and are attached to each other near their base by a webbed structure.

The skin consists of a thin outer epidermis with mucous cells and sensory cells, and a connective tissue dermis consisting largely of collagen fibres and various cells allowing colour change. The octopus can squeeze through tiny gaps; even the larger species can pass through an opening close to 2.

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They can extend and contract, twist to left or right, bend at any place in any direction or be held rigid. The suckers allow the octopus to anchor itself or to manipulate objects. Each sucker is usually circular and bowl-like and has two distinct parts: When a sucker attaches to a surface, the orifice between the two structures is sealed.

The infundibulum provides adhesion while the acetabulum remains free, and muscle contractions allow for attachment and detachment. The eyes of the octopus are large and are at the top of the head. They are similar in structure to those of a fish and are enclosed in a cartilaginous capsule fused to the cranium.

The cornea is formed from a translucent epidermal layer and the slit-shaped pupil forms a hole in the iris and lies just behind.

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The lens is suspended behind the pupil and photoreceptive retinal cells cover the back of the eye. The pupil can be adjusted in size and a retinal pigment screens incident light in bright conditions.

Members of the suborder Cirrina have stout gelatinous bodies with webbing that reaches near the tip of their arms, and two large fins above the eyes, supported by an internal shell. Fleshy papillae or cirri are found along the bottom of the arms, and the eyes are more developed.

Octopuses have three hearts; a systemic heart that circulates blood round the body and two branchial hearts that pump it through each of the two gills. The systemic heart is inactive when the animal is swimming and thus it tires quickly and prefers to crawl.

This makes the blood very viscous and it requires considerable pressure to pump it round the body; octopuses' blood pressures can exceed 75 mmHg. The haemocyanin is dissolved in the plasma instead of being carried within blood cells, and gives the blood a bluish colour.

The blood vessels consist of arteries, capillaries and veins and are lined with a cellular endothelium which is quite unlike that of most other invertebrates. The blood circulates through the aorta and capillary system, to the vena cavae, after which the blood is pumped through the gills by the auxiliary hearts and back to the main heart.

Much of the venous system is contractile, which helps circulate the blood.

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The siphon is used for respiration, waste disposal and discharging ink. Respiration involves drawing water into the mantle cavity through an aperture, passing it through the gills, and expelling it through the siphon. The ingress of water is achieved by contraction of radial muscles in the mantle wall, and flapper valves shut when strong circular muscles force the water out through the siphon.

From there it is transferred to the gastrointestinal tractwhich is mostly suspended from the roof of the mantle cavity by numerous membranes. The tract consists of a cropwhere the food is stored; a stomach, where food is ground down; a caecum where the now sludgy food is sorted into fluids and particles and which plays an important role in absorption; the digestive glandwhere liver cells break down and absorb the fluid and become "brown bodies"; and the intestine, where the accumulated waste is turned into faecal ropes by secretions and blown out of the funnel via the rectum.

The octopus has two nephridia equivalent to vertebrate kidneys which are associated with the branchial hearts; these and their associated ducts connect the pericardial cavities with the mantle cavity.

Before reaching the branchial heart, each branch of the vena cava expands to form renal appendages which are in direct contact with the thin-walled nephridium. The urine is first formed in the pericardial cavity, and is modified by excretion, chiefly of ammonia, and selective absorption from the renal appendages, as it is passed along the associated duct and through the nephridiopore into the mantle cavity.

Its nervous system allows the arms to move with some autonomy. Nervous system and senses The octopus along with cuttlefish has the highest brain-to-body mass ratios of all invertebrates; it is also greater than that of many vertebrates.

Colour vision appears to vary from species to species, for example being present in O. They provide information on the position of the body relative to gravity and can detect angular acceleration.

An autonomic response keeps the octopus's eyes oriented so that the pupil is always horizontal. The octopus's suction cups are equipped with chemoreceptors so the octopus can taste what it touches. Octopus arms do not become tangled or stuck to each other because the sensors recognise octopus skin and prevent self-attachment.

As a result, the octopus does not possess stereognosis ; that is, it does not form a mental image of the overall shape of the object it is handling. It can detect local texture variations, but cannot integrate the information into a larger picture.

The neurological autonomy of the arms means the octopus has great difficulty learning about the detailed effects of its motions. It has a poor proprioceptive sense, and it knows what exact motions were made only by observing the arms visually.

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