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The octopus is a cephalopod that inhabits many diverse regions of the ocean, especially coral reefs. Octopuses are characterized by their eight arms, usually with sucker cups on them. They are highly intelligent, but have a very short life span. They have been known to learn to distinguish the difference between colors and shapes. More impressing is that they can remember the shapes and colors and their meanings for up to two years.

Table of contents
1 Placement
2 Synonyms and common names
3 References
4 Children


Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Mollusca
Class Cephalopoda
Order Octopoda
Family Octopodidae
Genus Octopus

Synonyms and common names

Other members of Octopodidae are also called "octopuses".

A note on the plural: Fowler states that "the only acceptable plural in English is octopuses", and that octopi is misconceived and octopodes pedantic. Octopi derives from the mistaken notion that octopus is Latin. But it isn't; it is Greek, from oktopous. If the word were Latin, it would be octoped and the plural octopedes, analogous to centipedes and millipedes.

That said, Merriam-Webster now accepts octopi as a plural form. The collective form octopus is also used, but is usually reserved for animals consumed for food.

References as of 2002-07-09