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Octopus: The Ocean's Intelligent Invertebrate

By Jennifer A. Mather, Roland C. Anderson, and James B. Wood

I heartily recommend this book.

Jean-Michel Cousteau, President, Ocean Futures Society

The visually arresting and often misunderstood octopus has long captured popular imagination. With an alien appearance and an uncanny intellect, this exceptional sea creature has inspired fear in famous lore and legends — from the giant octopus attack in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea to Ursula the sea witch in The Little Mermaid. Yet its true nature is more wondrous still. After decades of research, the authors reveal a sensitive, curious, and playful animal with remarkable intelligence, an ability to defend itself with camouflage and jet propulsion, an intricate nervous system, and advanced problem-solving abilities.

In this beautifully photographed book, three leading marine biologists bring readers face to face with these amazingly complex animals that have fascinated scientists for decades. From the molluscan ancestry of today's octopus to its ingenious anatomy, amazing mating and predatory behaviors, and other-worldly relatives, the authors take readers through the astounding life cycle, uncovering the details of distinctive octopus personalities. With personal narratives, underwater research, stunning closeup photography, and thoughtful guidance for keeping octopuses in captivity, Octopus is the first comprehensive natural history of this smart denizen of the sea.

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Media reviews

"A fascinating natural history of some of the ocean's most intriguing creatures."

—Scott Shalaway, Farm and Dairy

"With personal narratives, underwater research, stunning closeup photography, and thoughtful guidance for keeping octopuses in captivity, this book is the first comprehensive natural history of this smart denizen of the sea. For anyone with an interest in octopodes."

ScienceBlogs.com

"Reveals the uncanny smarts and elegant adaptations of these eight-armed wonders."

Science News

"Provides an excellent nature history of the octopus, pairing lovely photos with the insights of three leading marine biologists."

Bookwatch

About the authors

Jennifer A. Mather

Jennifer A. Mather is a leading researcher on octopuses, concentrating on their behavior and personalities. A professor of psychology at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada, she teaches a variety of courses including studies of aging and perception. She grew up on the Pacific coast of Canada where she acquired her lifelong fascination with cephalopods, which she has been writing about since 1978. She has conducted field research in Bermuda, Hawaii, and the Caribbean.

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Roland C. Anderson

Roland C. Anderson, a former biologist at the Seattle Aquarium, has observed octopuses in captivity and the wild for more than 30 years. He is particularly interested in the natural history, behavior, and aquarium husbandry of marine invertebrates and especially the cold water cephalopods of Puget Sound, about which he has published numerous articles. The son of a sea captain, he grew up near the ocean where he became an avid scuba diver.

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James B. Wood

James B. Wood is the director of education at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California. An accomplished underwater photographer, he is especially interested in cephalopod behavior, husbandry, and physiology. Webmaster of the Cephalopod Page, one of the longest running biological Web sites, James is a founding member of MarineBio.org and a staff member of TONMO.com, an online cephalopod enthusiast community.

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