Cephalopoda

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(Exobiology)
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==Biology==
==Biology==
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The name Cephalopoda literally means "head feet" and refers to the fact that these animals have a [[foot]] (actually a cluster of tentacles) directly abutting their head.  The group includes [[Sepioidea|cuttlefish]], [[Octopoda|octopods]], [[Teuthoidea|squid]], the [[Nautilus|pearly nautilus]], and a large number of ancient (mostly [[Paleozoic]] and [[Mesozoic]]) forms.  All are active marine predators (although some early types were drifters), able to swim swiftly, and easily competing with fish in the marine habitat.  There are 650 living species, but more than 7,500 fossil forms are known (and as in all cases like this this number is obviously a gross underestimate of the real number of cephalopod species that have ever lived through the [[Phanerozoic]] time).  Like fish they are equipped with highly developed eyes and other sense organs, include both active swimmers and bottom-dwellers, and in many cases have a streamlined body for more efficient locomotion.  Swimming is by rapidly expelling water from the [[mantle cavity]].  The water is forced out through a funnel or [[siphon]] - the [[hyponome]] - actually a tube-like flap of modified foot, thus driving the animal in the opposite direction.  This is the key to the so-called "jet-propulsion" of these animals  The funnel is highly maneuverable and can be directed in any direction, allowing motion backwards or forwards.  However, the fastest movement is backward escape swimming, with powerful contractions of the mantle ejecting water through the forward facing funnel.  A cloud of "ink" can also be ejected as a sort of underwater smoke screen to hide the fleeing animal.
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The name Cephalopoda literally means "head feet" and refers to the fact that these animals have a [[foot]] (actually a cluster of [[tentacles]]) directly abutting their head.  The group includes [[Sepioidea|cuttlefish]], [[Octopoda|octopods]], [[Teuthoidea|squid]], the [[Nautilus|pearly nautilus]], and a large number of ancient (mostly [[Paleozoic]] and [[Mesozoic]]) forms.  All are active marine predators (although some early types were drifters), able to swim swiftly, and easily competing with fish in the marine habitat.  There are 650 living species, but more than 7,500 fossil forms are known (and as in all cases like this this number is obviously a gross underestimate of the real number of cephalopod species that have ever lived through the [[Phanerozoic]] time).  Like fish they are equipped with highly developed eyes and other sense organs, include both active swimmers and bottom-dwellers, and in many cases have a streamlined body for more efficient locomotion.  Swimming is by rapidly expelling water from the [[mantle cavity]].  The water is forced out through a funnel or [[siphon]] - the [[hyponome]] - actually a tube-like flap of modified foot, thus driving the animal in the opposite direction.  This is the key to the so-called "jet-propulsion" of these animals  The funnel is highly maneuverable and can be directed in any direction, allowing motion backwards or forwards.  However, the fastest movement is backward escape swimming, with powerful contractions of the mantle ejecting water through the forward facing funnel.  A cloud of "ink" can also be ejected as a sort of underwater smoke screen to hide the fleeing animal.
All cephalopods are carnivorous, feeding primarily on fish, other [[Mollusca|mollusks]], [[Crustacea]], and worms.  The head projects into a crown of prehensile tentacles - ranging from 8 in the octopus to 80 or 90 in the living nautilus.  These tentacles are actually a specialized form of the standard molluscan foot, and used for grasping prey.  Once the prey is snared it is bitten with strong beak-like jaws and pulled into the mouth by the [[radula]].
All cephalopods are carnivorous, feeding primarily on fish, other [[Mollusca|mollusks]], [[Crustacea]], and worms.  The head projects into a crown of prehensile tentacles - ranging from 8 in the octopus to 80 or 90 in the living nautilus.  These tentacles are actually a specialized form of the standard molluscan foot, and used for grasping prey.  Once the prey is snared it is bitten with strong beak-like jaws and pulled into the mouth by the [[radula]].

Revision as of 07:34, 16 March 2009

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