The name Ceph comes from cephalopod, a class of mollusks that includes the octopus and squid.  The suggestion came from Carlos Maltzahn, a professor in our research group at UCSC, sometime in 2006.  My memory is a bit hazy, but if memory serves the reasoning had something to do with their high level of intelligence and many-tentacled–ahem, “distributed”–physiology [insert hand waving here].

Here are some fun facts (and links).

  • Cephalopods have the most complex nervous system of all the invertebrates.
  • Some can fly up to 50m through the air, squirting water to help propel themselves.
  • Most have a chromatophores, colored pigments on their skin that are used for camouflage.  Check out this incredible video clip from Science Friday.
  • Cephalopods have advanced vision, but most are color blind.
  • They can detect gravity with statocysts.
  • They have an ink sac that they squirt into the water to confuse predators.
  • Most have no bones and can squeeze themselves through extremely small holes (search youtube for ‘octopus escape’ for some crazy videos).

Amusingly, I was searching for a story I heard a while back about an octopus at an aquarium that would sneak out of its tank to steal fish/food from a nearby tank and then return home, but ended up on this page on snopes about the prevalence of the story.