Common Octopus - Octopus Vulgaris
Latin: Octopus Vulgaris
English: Common Octopus
German: Der Gewöhnliche Krake, der Gemeine Krake
French: La Pieuvre Commune
Italian: Il Polpo Comune
Spanish: El Pulpo Común
Croatian: Hobotnica, Hobota, Mrkač
About: The Common Octopus is a cephalopod mollusc of the order Octopoda. They have two eyes and four pairs of arms (that is eight in total, just to be sure) with two rows of suckers. It has a very strong beak, which is capable of crushing or punching holes in various shells.
Octopus Vulgaris has no internal or external skeleton, allowing them to squeeze through tight places. Octopuses are among the most intelligent of all invertebrates - it captivity it can easily learn various trick and in the wild, it quickly learns how to make shelter using coconuts shells and to raid and run away from lobster traps.
It's maximum length is around 1.30 m (mantle up to 25-30cm, arms up to a meter long) and weight up to 15kg. On average, it weighs around 0.7 kg.
Octopus can change color according to it's needs - it can use it as camouflage or to try to scare off potential predator. When in danger, it can also release a cloud of ink and use it for hiding while running away.
It spawns during winter and spring, but this vary depending on location.
Habitat: Common Octopus can be found in the eastern Atlantic, the Mediterranean Sea and it is also common in the Western Atlantic. It ranges from 2 to 200 m and can be found on various terrains - on sand, mud, between rocks and similar - anywhere where it can find it's prey like fish, crabs, shells etc.
The octopus is opportunist (very intelligent one!) and it will eat almost anything it can catch.
Fishing period: Although Common Octopus can be caught all year long, most recreational fishermen are catching it in spring and summer.
Fishing rigs and tackle: Octopus is predator - it will jump on any prey that strays across its path. The common octopus hunts mostly at dusk, but small crab tied on thin rope/line will draw it's attention any time.
During the day, if noticed, it can be caught with spear(gun). It will enter any fish trap if it notice a crab of some kind inside. Also, when it grabs a crab, it will not release it as long as it is under water - using crab on the line (tied or hooked), pull in the octopus to the boat or to the shore, but keep the octopus ALWAYS under the water and when it is close, catch it with some hand net or hook. As soon as octopus is above the water, it will release the crab. And probably some ink, so be prepared for little bit of washing :)
Common Octopus on fish market.
Photo by N.M.
Cuisine: Common Octopus can be prepared in many ways - it can be boiled and then prepared as a salad (with some olive oil, onions, pepper, lemon juice etc) that can be used as main course or side dish.
Also, it can be baked with potatoes, barbequed etc. It is important to boil it every time before being prepared, or it will stay tough and hard to eat.