Friday, October 8, 2010

ICAD 2010

Welcome to the Fourth Annual!

Cephalopods are octopuses, squid, cuttlefish, nautiluses, and their extinct relatives, ammonites. They are the invertebrates that have it all: smarts, good looks, and size. They solve puzzles, they change colors, and one of them, the giant squid, is the largest spineless creature in the world.

In addition to beauty, brains, and bigness, cephalopods have a fourth irresistable characteristic: mystery. Many basic facts about even the most common species are simply unknown, and scientists continue to discover ever-weirder species.


In 2007, the devoted members of TONMO, The Octopus News Magazine Online forum, decided cephalopods merited a day of international celebration. Debate over which date to choose quickly focused on the month of October, for obvious anatomical reasons. Most modern cephalopods have either ten appendages (squid and cuttlefish) or eight appendages (octopuses), and October is both the 10th month of the year and contains the Latinate number 8.

Selecting October 8th as International Cephalopod Day was the logical conclusion, as this date can be written 10/8 (USA) or 8/10 (the rest of the world) and contains both critical numbers.

In 2009, Jason at Cephalopodcast extended the celebration to three days of Cephalopod Awareness, namely:

  • Thursday, October 8 - Octopus Day, for all the eight-armed species
  • Friday, October 9 - Nautilus Night, a time for all the lesser-known extant and extinct cephalopods
  • Saturday, October 10 - Squid Day/Cuttlefish Day, or Squidurday, covering the tentacular species
(The happy confluence of Squid Day with a Saturday in that year lent itself to the obvious pun.)

Many thanks are due to Jason not only for expanding the holiday but for creating a splendid 2009 commemorative page, much of which has been adapted for the 2010 commemorative page you are now reading.

Cephalopod Awareness Day(s) are not yet sanctioned by any official governing body, but the purpose of the holiday is to bring attention to the diversity, biology and conservation of these bizarre and wonderful molluscs.

Let's Cephalobrate!

So what can you do to honor the world's cephalopods on these auspicious days? Attend the facebook event! Tweet with the hashtag #cephday! Participate in one of these events, or create your own gala party!

  • Attend a science conference: The 4th International Squid Workshop and the 5th International Symposium on Pacific Squid are being held from October 9-15 in La Paz, Mexico, hosted by El Centro de Investigaciones Biol√≥gicas del Noreste. I'll be attending both workshop and symposium, and blogging about them at Squid-A-Day.
  • Promote marine science education: Donor's Choose is a charitable website that connects your dollars directly to specific teachers and classroom projects. Starting October 10th, the web's ocean bloggers will be kicking off a campaign to get marine science projects funded, but really, you can donate to anything and think of an octopus in your heart, and it will be a Cephalobration.

  • Newquay's Blue Reef Aquarium is holding a series of special events and activities to celebrate World Octopus Day on Friday, OCTober 8th. See comment below for more details.
  • If you're a oenophile, or even just a dabbler, head over to Eight Arms Cellars and pick up a celebratory cephalopod six-pack! Iain writes, "This is good opportunity to get your hands on a bottle of The Tentacle before it's all gone and to be the first to taste the 2008 Octopod and 2007 Eight Arms Syrah, Napa Valley prior to their release next month."
  • The Benjamin Benjamin Gallery is hosting an octopus-themed art show for the entire month of OCTOber. The opening reception was on the 7th, but if you're in Portland, go check it out! And report back! (h/t @yogi1ab thx for the link!)
  • E-mail cephalopodiatrist (at) gmail (dot) com to add your event, or leave a comment

Bloggers, artist, poets and musicians are also encouraged to create one or more works to mark the occasion and submit them for aggregation here. Topics can be scientific, cultural or fictional, as long as they somehow include cephalopod awareness. You can write whatever you like and make it as long as you want. It could just be a picture with caption. Here are some ideas: your favorite octopus species, cephalopod recipes (hey, it happens!), music inspired by cephalopods, mythological cephalopods, cephalopods featured in games, cephalopod tattoos, squid toys, your favorite cartoon cephalopod.
For your submission to be listed here, just contact me with the post URL, the author's name, and a sentence or two of description. Keep this description PG/family-friendly. If your link leads to a site that is randy or violent (in our editorial opinion) we will make a note of that. If you don't have a blog, but still want to contribute, contact the editors for ways your creation can be hosted here.

  • Ollie the Octopus from Listen to Us! takes Octopus Day as an opportunity to reflect on the current state of the oceans, and plastic pollution in particular.
  • Erin Loury from the Drop-In to Moss Landing Marine Labs shares some adorable bouncing baby octopuses and reminds us that "an animal's ecological role is also worthy of celebration." That's a nice way of saying that cephalopods taste good too! 
  • Indie Squid Kid has been prowling through Tumblr blogs for the best of the best, and comes up with three must-subscribes for any octopus enthusiast. I find the Octopus Icarus strangely moving. ISK links more beautiful images to raise Nautilus Awareness, and busts out a truly fabulous project for Squid Day: Architeuthis Across America . . . and Beyond! This "teuthic travel guide" will identify "as many locations as possible that have on display either A) a preserved specimen, B) a life-size replica/model, or C) a sculpture or mural of Architeuthis (or other large cephalopod)." I can't wait for the road trip!
  • Todd Anderson uses his electronical engineering skillz to demonstrate chromatophore activity with junk he found under his bed. Witness the LED octopus.
  • Did you know that Oliver Sacks loves cephalopods? "They are my favorite aliens," he says. Aw, mine too, Dr. Sacks! Back in June his blog post Squidmania suggested that June should be National Cephalopod Month. A noble goal, but clearly October is the right month for it. And why not go international?
  • Diane Kelly at Science Made Cool marvels at the truly remarkable strike speed of common squid. A biomechanical win for the soft and boneless!
  • Shell and Mantle illustrates Octopus Day and Nautilus Night with one lovely photo each, and a special Octopoem for Octoday. For Squid Day, we get a pointer to the absolutely adorable Articulate Matter! Who made this amazing rendition of my blog title.
  • E-mail cephalopodiatrist (at) gmail (dot) com to add your contribution, or leave a comment

Promo Ink

Artists and entrepreneurs: we'll be posting free Cephalopod Day promotional images in the sidebar here. Promote your love of cephalopods loud and proud! If you create an image, we will include a link back to your wares.
  • 200x200px in jpg or png format.
  • Incorporate something cephalopodal, be it octopus, squid, fossil or cuttlefish. As long as it has all or part of a cephalopod in it, that's OK. Can be a drawing, photo, sketch, painting, CGI, etc.
  • The URL of your emporium/shop/site.
  • Keep the promo image PG/family-friendly. Your site can be whatever you like, but we will make a note if it's randy or violent (in our editorial opinion).
  • You must have the rights to use the image and give us the right to post it here.
  • You must allow others the right to repost your image for the purpose of promoting Cephalopod Awareness Days.
  • Visibly include the words "" somewhere in the image.
  • No animations.
  • Submit by 10/8 to be relevant.

Year-round Suckers
Every day is Cephalopod Awareness Day at these tentacular sites!

  • E-mail cephalopodiatrist (at) gmail (dot) com to add your cephaloblog, or leave a comment

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