common octopus


One of our awesome volunteers brought in this submarine as enrichment for the octos, and this little sea monster has had a fantastic time sinking the ship, causing chaos, and finding food while doing so! I love the simplicity of this little vessel as a form of enrichment, and the potential it holds for more complicated activities.

Iconography of the Ainur

It’s pretty common for deities or saints to have certain symbols attached to them for artistic or teaching purposes, especially in preliterate societies or places with low literacy. So it seems a pretty reasonable idea that the Ainur had their own symbols developed by the elves and later adopted and modified by the Edain.  (The dwarves have no such parallel system. Language and writing have such a sacred character to them that calligraphic inscriptions serve this purpose.)

The pre-sundering elves of Cuivienen created the oldest symbols, and those continue to be used among the Moriquendi and the elves of Middle-earth. From these ancient symbols, the Amanyar elves developed a complex system to help identify the subject of an image in their art, such as the number and placement of figures, their gestures, setting and objects that appear with them. 

The Valar have a particularly standardized set of iconography associated with them. When the image is an Ainur’s humanoid form, they have a nimbus of radience or a crown of stars surrounding their head. The icon can take the place of the Vala it represents, or simply be a sign of influence or presence. The most common symbol type is animal.

  • Manwë - an eagle, a cloud, or a wind. Eönwë is specifically represented as a falcon, and other maiar as other birds of prey active during the day.
  • Varda - stars, of course, but occasionally an owl, a noctural bird of prey to match her husband’s eagle, or rarely a bat (Amanyar only, used only during the Years of the Trees). Ilmarë and her other handmaidens use a cat, ocelot, or leopard.
  • Aulë - an anvil or a smith’s hammer, raw crystals; his only animal symbols are corvids like crows or ravens
  • Yavanna - It would be inappropriate to represent Yavanna with any animal, since they feed on her plants. Instead elven artists use ripened wheat or fair trees with straight trunks. Some pollinators, like bees may be used. Yavanna’s maiar are animals that eat only nuts or fruits, the rationale being that they are helping the tree disperse its seeds.
  • Ulmo - Use of an animal symbol for Ulmo is unusual; most commonly he is a tall, foam-crested wave. But when an animal is used, large predatory fish, squid or octopus are common. No animal that must surface to breathe can be used. Ossë’s symbol is a Killer Whale, an Uinen has dolphins & porpoises. For his other maiar, various water-going animals that cannot breathe in the water are used, like whales, seals, or sea turtles.
  • Namo/Mandos - Using any living thing to represent the Vala of death is taboo. A pair of scales, an animal skull, or an hourglass are his symbols. For his maiar, the elves created a race of special mythological creatures: black coated, predatory animals with bare skulls as their heads and ghost lights in place of eyes. 
  • Vairë - Her symbol has quite the history. Her ancient, original symbol is the spider and spiderweb, but those fell out of use among the Amanyar and Sindar thanks to Ungoliant and her spawn. The Avari, Nandor and their Silvan descendents continued to use it until spiders began to plague Mirkwood. The spider was replaced by symbols of weaving like the loom, shuttle, and spindle.
  • Irmo/Lórien - He has several. The butterfly or moth, because they are animals that metamorphose from one form to another, and the Gardens of Lórien are filled with them. Colorful frogs, especially poisonous ones. Peacocks, for the ‘eyes’ on their feathers. Poppy flower, for its narcotic properties.
  • Estë - the serpent, for her role as healer. The turtle or lotus as representations of her island where she sleeps.
  • Melian - nightingale 
  • Nienna - a teardrop or tear tracks. White or grey doves. For the Amanyar, elephants, because they can cry and feel grief for a lost family member.
  • Oromë - a horse or a hound. He is a rare case of a repeated symbol; a falcon or hawk is also used, but it must be hooded or jessed as when used in falconry. Oromë’s maiar are most often represented by animals that hunt in packs, like wolves or lions, sometimes solitary predators. They are always predators.
  • Vána - flowers or songbirds, and hummingbirds who drink from flowers.
  • Tulkas - the boar, bull, or ram. Implements of war may be used, but since Tulkas is famous as a wrestler, are less common.
  • Nessa - a doe, hare, or gazelle. Among the Edain, she gained the symbol of the Horned Doe, a doe with a buck’s horns.
  • Tilion and Arien have special symbolic markings of their own. Tilion is always crowned with the moon (which moon phase varies), as Arien is crowned with the sun.
  • Melkor: We do not speak his name, we do not write his mark
  • Mairon/Sauron: too many Eyes

Did you know? When octopuses are caught in the act of moving rocks and destroying the hard work of their aquarists, they drop everything and slowly back away like nothing happened.
Down Where It's Wetter - Chp. 1 by RedFive | Archive of Our Own
An Archive of Our Own, a project of the Organization for Transformative Works
By Organization for Transformative Works

Summary: Hapalochlaena lunulata: the pacific blue-ringed octopus is one of the world’s deadliest creatures. There is no known cure for its toxin, and it is considered extremely dangerous. Ordinarily, this species consumes crab and small fish, but as you know, our specimen is anything but ordinary.

On Display at the Baltimore Aquarium: Hannibal the Cannibal.

Written for @hannibalcreative​ #ReleaseTheCrackin event, and despite the title and rating, I swear to you there is NO TENTACLE PORN. Sorry if that disappoints, but there is always next time ;-)

Beta’ed by @wolftrapqueen27.
Rating: explicit in chapter 3


I know what you are thinking: Why, Red? Why are you doing this to us? 


LOOK AT THE THING! Is that not the most Extra Octopus you have ever seen!? It’s exactly the species of octopus Hannibal would be. Search your feelings. You know it to be true! 

Originally posted by mermaidtittiezzz

creative commons attributions: blue-ringed octopus by Angel Williams; baltimore aquarium by Robert Williams; red coral by Albert Plawinski


It’s been too long since I’ve posted an octo update, (or any update, really), and this feisty little lady has been up to some pretty cool things!

We recently got a set of hamster tubes to use for octo enrichment, and the set had a little blue lookout tower in it. Surprising everyone, our octo turned this sweet blue green color to match it! I had seen our reef octopus before her with colors like this occasionally, but never a common octopus. We also don’t have a lot of blue in that habitat, so she had no reason to be blue until her enrichment was blue! (She tends to be more rock/sand colored)

So, long story short: our lil kraken is still amazing and surprising and the best animal ever 🐙💜


Because of their adaptive abilities — rapid growth, short lifespans and flexible development — cephalopods are sometimes called “the weeds of the sea.” And it seems like that might be serving them well.

According to study published in Current Biology cephalopod abundance has increased since the 1950s. The reason for this growth is not yet clear, but it maybe that their adaptability has allowed them to thrive in a changing climate while other ocean dwelling populations suffer. Study author Bronwyn Gillanders says that figuring out the reason for cephalopod abundance may tell us a lot about “how human activities are changing the ocean.”