That octopus has no tentacles – "Super Suckers" Book Review


Even if you are an avid NatGeo nerd, you will still find plenty of remarkable facts you did not know about the GPO (giant Pacific octopus) in the new book Super Suckers The Giant Pacific Octopus and Other Cephalopods of the Pacific Coast by James A. Cosgrove & Neil McDaniel.

The first lesson the book offered me in how to talk smart about sea-life was that octopus have no tentacles. I often have even heard aquarium staff use the term in relation to octopus. But, in fact Jim writes that octopus have eight “legs.” It is only squid (and related nautilus) that have tentacles. Squid have eight legs also, but those two extra appendages that would shoot out to grab you, if you happened to be imitating squid food, are the tentacles. And then there was the wild fact that the GPO’s digestive system passes through its brain.

A scuba diver since 1959 and a founding member of  the Canadian Association for Underwater Science (CAUS)James A. Cosgrove (M.Sc.), is a leading expert on the giant Pacific octopus. He has provided his expertise to everything from documentary film crews to the National Inquirer.

Reading this book is like getting to sit down to long evening chat with the master (Jim). The book includes groundbreaking research and previously unpublished biological behaviours of the GPO. 

With accessible text and many good photos, the book should be accessible to readers of most age levels. The prose is woven into a sometimes quirky mixture of fact and fascinating tales. The style hops around between fireside chat at a kids sea camp, dive shop after-dive stories and lectures at the aquarium. Despite the detours in style, we can guarantee that you you will learn everything you need to know about the GPO and surely enjoy the myths and exciting true tales. The authors do cover it all, from historical myth to modern science and even current events about the Humboldt squid, recently in the news.  Just one of the engaging must read tales was about the GPO that figured out how to fish for seagulls.

Anyone who dives within the range of the GPO will be have a richer experience after they read Super Suckers.  It will hold interest for all others that love undersea world and is a must for any aquarium staff and their gift shop book stores ($26.95 Harbour Publishing).