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Octopus, Squid, and Cuttlefish

A Visual, Scientific Guide to the Oceans’ Most Advanced Invertebrates

"Cephalopods are often misunderstood creatures. Three biologists set the record straight."—Science News

Largely shell-less relatives of clams and snails, the marine mollusks in the class Cephalopoda—Greek for “head-foot”—are colorful creatures of many-armed dexterity, often inky self-defense, and highly evolved cognition. They are capable of learning, of retaining information—and of rapid decision-making to avoid predators and find prey. They have eyes and senses rivaling those of vertebrates like birds and fishes, they morph texture and body shape, and they change color faster than a chameleon. In short, they captivate us.

From the long-armed mimic octopus—able to imitate the appearance of swimming flounders and soles—to the aptly named flamboyant cuttlefish, whose undulating waves of color rival the graphic displays of any LCD screen, there are more than seven hundred species of cephalopod. Featuring a selection of species profiles, Octopus, Squid, and Cuttlefish reveals the evolution, anatomy, life history, behaviors, and relationships of these spellbinding animals. Their existence proves that intelligence can develop in very different ways: not only are cephalopods unusually large-brained invertebrates, they also carry two-thirds of their neurons in their arms. 

A treasure trove of scientific fact and visual explanation, this worldwide illustrated guide to cephalopods offers a comprehensive review of these fascinating and mysterious underwater invertebrates—from the lone hunting of the octopus, to the social squid, and the prismatic skin signaling of the cuttlefish.

224 pages | Full color images throughout | © 2018

Biological Sciences: Anatomy, Behavioral Biology, Physiology, Biomechanics, and Morphology


"Cephalopods are often misunderstood creatures. Three biologists set the record straight on the behaviors and evolution of these invertebrates of the sea."

Science News

"Octopus, Squid, and Cuttlefish celebrates these animals through beautiful pictures and an encyclopedic discussion of the animals’ evolution, biology, and behaviors. . . . After reading about the cephalopods’ abilities and behaviors, as well as their potential for advancing our lives, readers might think twice before ordering their next calamari appetizer."

American Scientist

"Informative and quite gorgeous."

Barbara J. King | @bjkingape

"It’s hard to imagine anything much more comprehensive in the field, and the 150 high-quality photographs taken by many different underwater photographers underline graphically the diversity of species. . . . Their writing style is clear, consistent, and very easy for non-biologists to follow. Excellent illustrations and diagrams aid understanding where required. Whether you want to read from cover to cover, dip in, skim, or use for reference, in terms of reflecting the latest research you’re unlikely to do better than this book if you want to get the most from your next underwater encounter."


"Blocks of species accounts interleave text-rich chapters on cephalopod biology. The chapter topics—which include morphology, systematics, phylogeny, behavior, and human exploitation—feature clear diagrams, high-quality photographs, and narratives that will not challenge most adult readers. . . . The sum of these chapters provides a complete . . . introduction to cephalopods. The blocks of species accounts consist of colorful, full-page photographs and associated factoids of several octopus, squid, and cuttlefish species. . . . These accounts  . . . sample the remarkable array of cephalopod diversity. . . . Recommended."


Table of Contents


Chapter One: Cephalopod Anatomy
Advanced Invertebrates
Inside the Cephalopod
Emperor Nautilus
Giant Pacific Octopod
Pharaoh Cuttlefish 46
Bigfin Squid
Japanese Flying Squid
Rough Glass Squid

Chapter Two: Phylogeny & Evolution
500 Million Years of Evolution
Nautilus—Living Fossil?
Evolution of Coleoids
The Buoyancy Conundrum
Cephalopods & Fishes: Convergent Evolution
On Dwarfs & Giants
Evolution & Climate Change
Fuzzy Nautilus
Common Blanket Octopus
Two-toned Pygmy Idiosepiid
Caribbean Reef Octopus
Flamboyant Cuttlefish
Analogous Bobtail Squid
Opalescent Inshore Squid
Eye-flash Squid

Chapter Three: Peculiar Lifestyles
Age & Growth
Cephalopods of Various Biomes
Humboldt Squid
Greater Argonaut
Striped Pyjama Squid
Thumbstall Squid
Agassiz’s Whiplash Squid
Pacific Warty Octopod
Balloon Dumbo Octopod

Chapter Four: Behavior, Cognition & Intelligence
Decision Making
Rapid Adaptive Coloration
Nature’s Best Camouflage
When Camouflage Fails
Super Fights for Mates
Sneaky Males & Sneakier Females
Evaluating Intelligence in Such Bizarre Animals
Common Octopus
Day Octopus
Mimic Octopus
Common European Cuttlefish
Giant Australian Cuttlefish
Broadclub Cuttlefish
Long-finned Inshore Squid
Caribbean Reef Squid

Chapter Five: Cephalopods & Humans
World Fisheries & Human Consumption
A Rich History of Biomedical & Biological Advances
Bio-inspired Materials Science & Engineering
Horned Octopod
Lesser Two-spotted Octopod
Southern Blue-ringed Octopus
Hawaiian Bobtail
Cape Hope Squid
Veined Squid
Jewel Squid
Sparkling Enope Squid

Notes on Contributors

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