1 Feb, 2018 590 Animals (Zoology)

The octopus, the squid, the nautilus and the cuttlefish are some of the most extraordinary creatures on this planet, intelligent and yet apparently unlike other life forms. They are cephalopods and are part of the mollusc family like snails and clams, and they have some characteristics in common with those. What sets them apart is the way members of their group can change colour, camouflage themselves, recognise people, solve problems, squirt ink, power themselves with jet propulsion and survive both on land, briefly, and in the deepest, coldest oceans. And, without bones or shells, they grow so rapidly they can outstrip their rivals when habitats change, making them the great survivors and adaptors of the animal world.

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  • Louise Allcock No other episodes
    Lecturer in Zoology at the National University of Ireland, Galway
  • Paul Rodhouse No other episodes
    Emeritus Fellow of the British Antarctic Survey
  • Jonathan Ablett No other episodes
    Senior Curator of Molluscs at the Natural History Museum

Reading list

  • Cephalopods: Ecology and Fisheries
    Peter Boyle and Paul Rodhouse (Wiley-Blackwell, 2005) Google Books →
  • Cephalopod Life Cycles: Volume 1: Species Accounts
    Peter Boyle (ed.) (Academic Press, 1984) Google Books →
  • Cephalopod Life Cycles: Volume 2: Comparative Reviews
    Peter Boyle (ed.) (Academic Press, 1987) Google Books →
  • The Search for the Giant Squid
    Richard Ellis (Penguin, 1999) Google Books →
  • Other Minds: The Octopus, The Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness
    Peter Godfrey-Smith (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2017) Google Books →
  • Cephalopod Behaviour
    Roger T. Hanlon and John B. Messenger (Cambridge University Press, 1998) Google Books →
  • Kingdom of the Octopus: The Life History of the Cephalopoda
    Frank W. Lane (Pyramid Publications, 1962) Google Books →
  • Octopus: The Ocean's Intelligent Invertebrate
    Jennifer Mather, Roland C. Anderson and James B. Wood (Timber Press, 2010) Google Books →
  • Kraken
    China Mieville (Pan, 2011)
  • The Brain and Lives of Cephalopods
    Marion Nixon and John Z. Young (Oxford University Press, 2002) Google Books →
  • Cephalopods: A World Guide: Octopuses, Argonauts, Cuttlefish, Squid, Nautilus
    Mark Norman (ConchBooks, 2000) Google Books →
  • Squid Empire: The Rise and Fall of the Cephalopods
    Danna Staaf (ForeEdge, 2017) Google Books →
  • Natural History of Nautilus
    Peter Douglas Ward (HarperCollins, London, 1987) Google Books →
  • Kraken: The Curious, Exciting, and Slightly Disturbing Science of Squid
    Wendy Williams (Abrams, 2011) Google Books →

Related episodes

Programme ID: b09pjgrn

Episode page: bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09pjgrn

Auto-category: 594 (Mollusca)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello, the octopus, the squid, the nautilus and the cuttlefish are some of the most extraordinary creatures on this planet, intelligent and yet so unlike other life forms.