Amazing Facts About the Intelligence of Cephalopods

Amazing Facts about the Intelligence of Cephalopods

In the world of undersea creatures, cephalopods, a group that includes octopuses, squids, and cuttlefish, are recognized as the most intelligent species. They possess unique attributes and display behaviours that are indistinguishable from those seen in more complex land-based animals. Here are some fascinating facts about their intelligence.

Independent Tentacle Operations

Cephalopods can operate each of their eight tentacles independently. This is because two-thirds of a cephalopod's neurons are located in its arms. A single arm can even perform complex tasks without input from the brain, such as unscrewing a jar lid to seize food inside.

Use of Tools

The Coconut Octopus is a primary example of a cephalopod which uses tools. This marine animal is known to carry coconut shells around using its tentacles and intelligently use those shells to construct a shelter.

Mimicry and Camouflage

Cephalopods have been seen exhibiting incredible mimicry and camouflage skills that are not just limited to colour change but go far beyond to include shape and even behavioural mimicking. For instance, the Mimic Octopus has the surprising ability to impersonate a range of other perilous sea creatures to ward off predators.

Lateral Thinking

A problem-solving capability that is usually linked to higher-level cognitive operations is lateral thinking. Some tests conducted on an octopus exemplified its capacity for lateral thinking. For instance, they’ve been observed pushing a cork out of a bottle to retrieve food and opening screw-top jars.

Short and Long-term Memory

Studies suggest that certain species of cuttlefish and octopuses exhibit capabilities of both short and long-term memory. For example, they can remember a solution to a puzzle for at least a year and can also recognize individual humans.


The characteristic of play is typically associated with intelligent creatures. Some species of cephalopods have been studied interacting playfully with objects in their environments, suggesting a curiosity and complexity not often seen in invertebrates.

In conclusion, cephalopods are remarkably intelligent and exhibit a high level of cognitive complexity, comparable to many land-based mammals. These fascinating creatures continue to astound researchers with their adept problem-solving abilities, memory retention, mimicry skills, and playfulness.