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Biology: Did You Know Octopuses Have Three Hearts?

Octopuses, with their eight arms, color-changing skin, and incredible intelligence, are already some of the most fascinating creatures on our planet. But did you know they boast a biological feature just as amazing – three hearts!

Why Three Hearts?

This unusual cardiac system is an adaptation to the octopus’s unique anatomy and lifestyle:

  • Oxygen Delivery: Octopuses have a complex circulatory system due to their copper-based blood (called hemolymph) being less efficient at transporting oxygen than our iron-based blood. Their three hearts work in tandem to pump blood, ensuring enough oxygen reaches their active bodies.
  • The Hearts’ Roles:
    • Two “branchial hearts” pump blood through the octopus’s gills, where it picks up oxygen.
    • The third, the “systemic heart,” pumps the oxygenated blood throughout the rest of the body.

More Than Just Hearts

These eight-armed creatures possess even more biological marvels:

  • Distributed Brains: Octopuses have a central brain, but also mini-brains at the base of each arm, allowing them to think and act with incredible coordination.
  • Blue Blood: The copper-based hemolymph in their blood gives it a blue color!
  • Masters of Disguise: Their ability to change color and texture helps them camouflage and even communicate.

Oceanic Marvels

The three-heart system of an octopus is a testament to the incredible adaptability of life. It allows these creatures to thrive in their underwater environments. They are a constant reminder of the wonders and surprises that nature holds.


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<a href="https://englishpluspodcast.com/author/dannyballanowner/" target="_self">Danny Ballan</a>

Danny Ballan


Danny is a podcaster, teacher, and writer. He worked in educational technology for over a decade. He creates daily podcasts, online courses, educational videos, educational games, and he also writes poetry, novels and music.

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