O. vulgaris!!!!! Goooooood little octo!
The plural as far as I can tell is Octopusses because it if from the greek meaning foot mouthed or something similar (They have their feet round their mouths) and the greeks didn't have plurals with ii at the end like it is in latin.
Andy, the best explanation I've heard thus far. I'd never given this consideration until the matter was raised many months ago (this is, to a certain extent, thread or at the very least subject duplication). It is covered somewhere online, and I think you are correct in the spelling 'octopusses' - though for all I know on the subject matter I could be speaking through a hole in my head (I depend on the likes of you folk to ciorrect me in such matters).
Actually, "octopusses" is not really a proper pluralization of octopus, since the word is not Latin (if it was it would be "octopi") but Latinized Greek. If you want to be pedantic, it should be pluralized as "octopodes."
What exactly is the plural form of octopus? I've heard octopusES and octoPI from many different places. At m-w.com and dictionary.com, they have both down as pl. forms. They both can't be right, can they?
Linguistic sticklers will tell you that it should be octopoda, in keeping with the Greek origin of the word. The plural i or ii is from Latin. Scientific names are often based on Latin words, so this may be why scientists use it in the stuff Greg reads. You can confidently say octopuses, too. Or you can skip it entirely and refer to "all members of the genus Octopus."
Melissa's right, infact...OCTOPI is the false plural for Octopus.
Although it is often supposed that octopi is the 'correct' plural of octopus, and it has been in use for longer than the usual Anglicized plural octopuses, it in fact originates as an error. Octopus is not a simple Latin word of the second declension, but a Latinized form of the Greek word oktopous, and its 'correct' plural would logically be octopodes.