The Narwhoctopus BY GABBY QUERCIA

Common Name And scientific name:

The common name of my organism is "Narwhoctopus". My creature has the physical characteristics of what appears to be a unicorn and an octopus to the untrained eye, but really is a combination of a the great Narwhal that lives year round in arctic waters and the well known octopus. The scientific name of my organism is Cerobates Octopoda, roughly translating to "strong horned octopus". The narwhoctopus belongs to the genus cerobates, grouping it with all other strong horned animals. It belongs to the species octopoda because it has many of the same characteristics of the octopus. While it may just sound like an octopus with a horn, putting together the characteristics of these two organisms results in incredible fighting/hunting strategies, and results in the addition of some new and amazing traits.

Ocean Zone and Habitat

Ocean Zone and Habitat of Narwhoctopus

The ocean zone that the narwhoctopus lives in is the disphotic pelagic zone. In the disphotic zone, there is not enough light for photosynthesis to occur, little oxygen, and high pressure. The pelagic part of the zone simply indicates that the narwhoctopus lives somewhere in the ocean column and not on the ocean floor. If we were to define where the narwhocotopus lives by distance from the shore, we'd say that it lives in the oceanic zone as well. Finding organisms in this zone is rare. It only contains 10% of all marine life. The abiotic factors in this zone include water, light, salinity, a very wide range of temperature, dissolved gases, pressure, tides, waves, currents, and exposure to air. The narwhoctopus' would also be considered to live in the mesopelagic zone if it were to be divided by depth. The habitat of the narwhocotpus is simply in rocks. It stays in the rocks practically 24/7 in order to hide from predators and sneakily attack prey. It also just lives, reproduces, sleeps, etc. in between the rocks. It only moves from different "rock piles" when it feels the location is unsuccessful and does not allow it to get the best food, mates, etc. that there are to offer.

Physical Traits and Adaptations to Environment

pHYSICAL TRAITS AND ADAPTATIONS OF THE NARWHOCTOPUS

The narwhocotpus has many unique traits and adaptations. For starters, lets talk about the eyes of the narwhoctopus. The narwhoctopus has huge eyes to aid it in seeing. Since it lives in the disphotic zone, there is not a ton of light. At night it is very difficult to see, but the narwhoctopus has no problem doing so. It can see everything clearly as if it were still daytime. The narwhoctopus also has an extremely thick coat of blubber. This helps it stay warm. This is very helpful because the disphotic zone has significantly colder temperatures. The horn on the narwhoctopus is also a crucial characteristic. When the narwhoctopus makes its sneak attack in order to get its prey, all it has to do is swim out from its hiding spot in the rocks and jab the other fish with its fairly long and pointy horn. Easy dinner, all day, everyday! If the narwhoctopus is unable to kill its desired prey with its horn because the prey is too far away, it can simply use one of its 8 tentacles. The suction cups on the bottom of these tentacles allow it to suck onto the scales and skin of other creatures, and the length of them allows for an easy catch. Inside the narwhoctopus' deceiving happy smiling-like shape of a mouth lies extremely sharp and pointy teeth. These teeth allow the narwhoctopus to eat almost anything it catches. There is nothing too hard or too soft, which is good because it ensures that the narwhoctopus will never have to worry about running out of its food source. This is a huge advantage because the oceanic zone has a very limited amount of organisms living in it. Lastly, my favorite trait of the narwhoctopus has to be its bioluminescence. Bioluminescence is the production and emission of light by a living organism. The narwhoctopus emits this light for several reasons. It emits it in order to attract mates, camouflage, and sometimes even to mimic other animals in order to trick and lure prey. The most common color of light that is emitted by the narwhoctopus is neon pink because it uses it to confuse other fish. The confused fish then approach the light and the narwhoctopus catch them to be eaten. Again, this is a huge plus because it is hard to find food in this zone.

Locomotion

How does the narwhoctopus move?

The narwhoctopus moves in a few different ways. One of the ways is very similar to that of the plain old octopus. It uses jet propulsion. The narwhoctopus sucks in water through its tentacles and then quickly expels the water out back out of the same tentacles. This allows the narwhoctopus to get pushed forward everytime this is done. Another way that the narwhoctopus moves is by suctioning onto surfaces. In a way, it is almost like the narwhoctopus is walking by doing this. It also sometimes suctions on to the back of sea turtles, which are the narwhoctopus' well known sea best friend. The sea turtle takes the narwhoctopus wherever it desires to go in exchange for the narwhoctopus to capture some food for the sea turtle. It is an easy exchange, since getting food is so easy for the narwhoctopus. This is an example of mutualism. Though the narwhoctopus does not necessarily need a ride from the sea turtle, sometimes the narwhoctopus is just feeling lazy and wants to hangout with its good old pal. The last possible way for the narwhoctopus to move is by using its fins by simply flapping them up and down. This method is not very effective, and is only done when the narwhoctopus wants to travel an extremely short distance without making its presence noticed. Its fins are not very effective in aiding the narwhoctopus in long term travel because the narwhoctopus weighs a lot and its fins are very weak and flimsy.

Respiration

How does the narwhoctopus breathe?

The narwhoctopus breathes through its nose. Its nose is internal, so all that is seen is what appears to be a slight hole or indent where the nose is located. The narwhoctopus automatically sucks in water through its nose. Oxygen is removed from the water and goes into the body of the narwhoctopus. The narwhoctopus then gets rid of the remaining water by squirting it out of its blowhole. This is unusual because typically, it is air that is being exerted from the blowhole in a common whale. This process only takes place every 30 minutes because the amount of oxygen that is retained is enough to last for a little while before needing to refresh. In the meantime, however, the narwhoctopus utilizes its gills, like most fish. The gills of a narwhoctopus are significantly weaker than those of other fish, so that is why it also needs to obtain oxygen through its nose. The narwhoctopus uses its gills by forcing water through them, where it flows past lots of tiny blood vessels. Oxygen seeps through the walls of those vessels into the blood, and carbon dioxide seeps out. The only issue is that the narwhoctopus has a hard time getting water to pass through its gills. Because of this, the narwhoctopus just simply cannot get enough oxygen to survive by solely using its gills. Thus, the combination of gills and its nose/blowhole results in a healthy and thriving narwhoctopus.

Feeding

How does the narwhoctopus get its food?

As mentioned briefly before, the narwhoctopus gets most of its food by using sneak attacks. It typically stabs its prey with its horn or catches it with one of its tentacles. When it does these things, it is very unexpected. It can use its bioluminescence to camouflage with the rocks of its habitat, or it can just easily hide in between the large rocks, since the narwhoctopus is not very large. Then as its prey approaches the narwhoctopus will use its horn, tentacles, or even the power of its jet propulsion to quickly get close to its prey and kill it. It can also use its bioluminescence to trick prey into approaching them by using its typical neon pink color or any other color that it knows will attract a specific creature. The narwhoctopus is not the type to fight for food. It finds it easiest to just use its unique features to get food. Another way that the narwhoctopus uses to get food that has not been mentioned thus far is by squirting out liquid poison from its tentacles. When the narwhoctopus sees or hears its prey close by, it can release this liquid into the ocean water. This liquid is toxic to any fish that gets touched by it. The second an organism comes into contact with this liquid, it is instantly killed. The narwhoctopus has to be very careful when using this feature because its goal is not to kill just anything that comes by. Food sources of the narwhoctopus include shrimp, mussels, and any kind of small fish. The narwhoctopus has no interest in large fish because they are simply much too difficult for them to eat, despite their powerful teeth and impressive jaw. The narwhoctopus also wants to avoid killing large animals such as sharks because where there is one shark, there could possibly be more. If it kills one, then the dead body of the shark will be laying out in front of its chosen habitat. The narwhoctopus would then have to change its location to avoid further danger (i.e other sharks coming and possibly eating and killing the narwhoctopus).

Reproduction

How do they reproduce?

The way narwhoctopi reproduce is not as complicated as you might think. Female narwhoctopi simply lay their eggs, approximately 30-40 of them at a time, and wait for a male to come along. When a male arrives, he chooses a few of the eggs to fertilize. Typically, the eggs that are chosen are just the ones that are closest in proximity. The male then releases sperm to the eggs. Sometimes, multiple males may release sperm for the same eggs. This release of eggs and sperm in water is known as spawning. Spawning is a type of external fertilization. After the eggs have been fertilized, it typically will take 6-9 weeks for the eggs to hatch into baby narwhoctopi.

Defense Strategies

dEFENSE STRATEGIES

Ah, the tentacles of the narwhactopus come in handy yet again! When the narwhactopus is being approached by a predator, it has the ability to use its tentacles. The narwhactopus can easily strangle any creature or organism that it feels is threatening its safety. The narwhactopus can also use its horn again, and stab anything that it feels is threatening its safety. In addition to what we already know the narwhactopus can use to protect itself, the narwhatopus can use its extremely powerful suction cups at the base of its tentacles to take an eye out of another organism. All the narwhactopus has to do is latch its tentacle onto an eyeball, and pull back. The eye will be ripped completely out of its socket, leaving the potential threat of danger blinded. The narwhactopus also is electric. It has the ability to electrocute organisms in an instant. Luckily , the narwhoctopus does not need to use these defense strategies very often. The oceanic zone does not have too many organisms, so there really isn't all that much to "defend" against.

Nekton!

THE NARWHOCTOPUS IS A NEKTON BECAUSE...

The narwhoctopus belongs to the nekton family because it is indeed a swimmer. It can actively maneuver throughout the water column (pelagic zone). It moves independently of water currents. Nekton are typically found at all depths. The narwhactopus is approximately 200 m - 1,000 m down in the ocean. The narwhoctopus is not a plankton because it is not a type of free-floating organism that cannot actively swim against currents of waves, and the narwhoctopus is not a benthos because it does not live on and it is not attached to the bottom of the sea floor.

Created By
Gabby Quercia
Appreciate

Credits:

Created with images by Edmund Garman - "Magic Island Sunset 4" • cluczkow - "ocean" • miamism - "Breathe" • Hardrockster - "fish feeding sea" • alles - "dagger blade steel arms" • sethink - "lightning storm weather" • cocoparisienne - "octopus suction cup suction cups"

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