? Octopus Primary Heart Does not Beat while Swimming?

Discussion in 'Physiology and Biology' started by DWhatley, May 4, 2014.

  1. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    I read an "8 fun facts about octopi" article that included the statement, "While octopi swim, this third heart doesn’t beat ...". The information on the two gill hearts was incorrectly stated but I wondered where this idea came from and found it in the Ten Curious Facts About Octopuses from the Smithsonian Science section. The author of the Care2 article clearly did not know anything about cephalopods and the Smithsonian article has some sketchy statements but does anyone know if the heart stopping while swimming has ANY validation? I had never heard it before and suspect it to be bunk but given the original source I am curious.
     
  2. Taollan

    Taollan Vampyroteuthis Supporter

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    Octopus systemic hearts will skip a heart beat or two when startled (http://jeb.biologists.org/content/78/1/87.full.pdf). That being said, I doubt an octopus heart will do more than that when swimming. The complete cessation of systemic heart function while swimming, one of the most energetically demanding activities and octopus does, seems to be not very advantageous.
     
  3. CephBirk

    CephBirk O. bimaculoides Registered

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    I agree with Taollan. I've heard of their heart skipping a beat, but certainly never heard of stopping for any duration (especially when swimming).
     
  4. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Thanks @Taollan, the statement seems counter to logic and I know nothing about the author's expertise but, because of the original Smithsonian posting source , I was curious about how the thought was originated. I added the paper's link to the vulgaris section under octopodidae in the Cephalopod Species category. Where the article confirms that systemic heart arrest may be common, it appears to directly counteract the heart stopping while swimming notion in its discussion of the heart working harder with exercise.

    It is also interesting that they mentioned the GPO can stop its systemic heart for at least an hour and allow the brachial hearts to do all the pumping but this is in a still state, not while swimming
    I might have saved posting this until next February though as it confirms that, even in octopuses, love can make your heart skip a beat :roll: (at least for males)
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2014
  5. mucktopus

    mucktopus Haliphron Atlanticus Staff Member Moderator

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    The references below are relevant as well. The system certainly isn't optimal by any stretch. Octopuses are stuck with an escape response (jetting) that's coupled to their ventilation mode. Fast jetting creates very high internal pressures in the mantle and can interrupt the heart, and at the same time also changes their normal breathing rate/intensity. Plus, the same muscles that get exhausted from too much swimming/jetting can also become too tired to breathe heavily. It's a total mess come to think about it!


    Wells, M. J. (1990). Oxygen extraction and jet propulsion in Cephalopods. Can. J. Zool. 68, 815-824.
    Wells, M. J., Duthie, G. G., Houlihan, D. F. and Smith, P. J. S. (1987). Blood flow and pressure changes in exercising octopuses Octopus vulgaris.
    J. Exp. Biol. 131, 175-187
     

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