For this feature, National Geographic photographer David Liittschwager embedded in MBL Senior Scientist Roger Hanlon's lab to observe octopuses and draw on Hanlon's expertise about their behavior. 

With their bulbous mantles, squirming arms, and clouds of ink, it’s no wonder that octopuses—from the kraken to Ursula in The Little Mermaid—have inspired folklore for centuries. But in reality, these cephalopods are smart, curious, and full of personality. For these images, photographer David Liittschwager spent weeks at Roger Hanlon’s laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, and at Anna Di Cosmo’s laboratory at the University of Naples Federico II in Italy, where he documented octopuses changing the color and texture of their skin, choosing meals, and exploring their tanks. He learned their skin is sensitive to light, and they can taste and “smell” with their eight arms, which can have hundreds of suckers each.

“Can you imagine what that might be like,” he asks, “to have skin that can see and 1,600 tongues and noses?” Researching the roughly 300 octopus species offers benefits from understanding the evolutionary origins of the human brain to imagining an alien form of intelligence. See article and videos here.

Source: 8 fascinating facts about octopuses—from their supersmarts to their favorite foods | National Geographic