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Free E-Book 1875 Aquarium Notes by Henry Lee


Staff member
Sep 4, 2006
Barnes an Noble have a free Google reproduced e-book (and free reader) frmo 1875 that discusses observations of octopuses in the aquarium from personal observation and compares the octopus described in one of Hugos books (Toilers of the Sea) with a nonfiction animal. I am only about half way through but really enjoying the read.


This book gives very good layman descriptions of both the biology and habits of the octopus and is amazing me on how much was known in 1875.

I am still reading this but want to recommend it as a must read. It is incredible how much information on biology and on behavior is written here and in an easily readable manner. There are a few things we have discovered that are misstated but not many and it covers many topics, including finding them out of water, eating their arms (calling it a false claim), night visits to neighboring crab tanks,cannibalism, sucker descriptions and shed (as well as a the odd arm movements that is considered grooming behavior), eye description, arm regrowth, eggs and maturation, brooding, individualism, mating(but off target) ... I have not read any one book or article that covers so many aspects of the octopus.

One very interesting point he makes is that an octopus will release its hold if you encircle its throat (one assumes he means just below the eyes) and chokes it slightly. He claims to have used this technique without harm to the octopuses in the aquarium and felt that it should become a well know fact to protect swimmers who might come to close to a den and not be able to free themselves.

He also writes limited observations on cuttlefish and squid.

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