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Animad’Oc (3): Eight good reasons to love octopus

To answer the first question that one might ask: the two words octopus and octopus designate the same animal, a mollusc which belongs to the family of the cephalopods and to the order of the octopods. The IPaul-Ricard Oceanographic Institute (in the Var) specifies however that “in the Mediterranean the octopus is actually the octopus of Victor Hugo and Jules Verne, the real octopus is the Eledone of the Channel and the Atlantic.”

Tel.theOctopussy by James Bond (performed by Maud Adams, in 1983 in the eponymous film), the animal has more than one string to its bow… Or rather tentacles to its body. Eight to be precise. And at least as many good reasons to be appreciated by the greatest number. Tell them ! collected some of them:


One of many depictions of the struggle between man and a terrible underwater creature…

The octopus has caused a lot of ink to flow, and among the greatest feathers in literature! This is Victor Hugo who, in 1866 in Sea workersintroduced in France the word octopusoriginally from the Channel Islands where he was in exile, to designate the octopus.

The writer recounts the fight of his hero, Gilliatt, against a strange adversary, whom he does not see, but who wraps around his right arm, then his torso, straps fitted with suction cups. The novelist then interrupts the narration to devote an entire chapter to the animal that puts Gilliat in mortal danger, the octopus.

On his side, Jules Verne is hardly kinder to the peaceful inhabitant of the rocks of the Mediterranean: “I looked at Conseil. Ned Land rushed to the window. “The Dreadful Beast”, he cried. I looked in my turn, and I could not repress a movement of repulsion. Before my eyes swayed a horrible monster, worthy of appearing in teratological legends (…) Its eight arms, or rather its eight feet, implanted on its head, which earned these animals the name of cephalopods, had a double development of its body and twisted like the hair furies (…) what monsters these octopuses are, what vitality the creator has given them, what vigor in their movements, since they have three hearts!” (Twenty thousand leagues under sea, 1869).


The octopus (here, we say the “puff”) is the main ingredient of one of the most emblematic products of Occitanie gastronomy: tielle sétoise!

It was in 1937 thatAdrienne Virduci was the first to market Tielle in the port of Sète. Over time, the reputation of the product and the know-how of this pioneer spread. La Tielle was the dish of the poor, Italian fishermen who came to settle here to escape misery. a dish concocted with bread dough – both soft and crispy – and those puffs that nobody wanted.

Today the tielle has earned its stripes culinary specialty. And Adrienne’s descendants still hold the upper hand, even if a few other Sète craftsmen-manufacturers have also established their reputation.

And the city that saw the birth Paul Valery, John Vilar, Brassensthem Di Rosa and a few others, can therefore also boast of being the cradle of the tielle! She also paid a beautiful tribute to the cephalopod with the statue of the “Pouffre” which raises its tentacles towards the sky on the town hall square, the work of another child of the singular island, the sculptor Pierre Noca

Recipe depending on the website Sète – Thau Archipelago :

A first choice meal! And lots of good things… Photo DR


Beyond the specialty typically Occitan mentioned above, the octopus is also one of the symbols of Mediterranean cuisine. Not only is it a delicacy, but it is a particularly interesting food from a nutritional point of view.

All the details on the site health magazine :

Long appreciated in Asia (especially in Japan and Korea) but also in Spain and Italy, the cephalopod took a little longer to impose its flavors in France. But in recent years it has attracted more and more consumers. It is true that there is no shortage of assets…

Octopus particularly offers a calcium intakein potassium, but also in vitamins A and C. Being also a great source of iron, octopus is perfect for people with anemia. It contains omega-3s which reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and the development of cancer cells…


It is from Brittany that this interesting revelation comesanother favorite “land” (or rather coast) of the octopus. The Canal – Theater of the Pays de Redon thus underlines this particularity, which is very trendy at the moment: the octopus is queer !

The canalchose the octopus as a symbol . And explains it in its own way through a series of dialogues in 20 episodes

(written during the confinement of the covid) which explains to us that:Octopus is queer? Yes, since he is also an octopus.Ah. The octopus is the male of the octopus. No, that wouldn’t be queer. The octopus is the octopus. The octopus is the octopus. It is the same animal (…)So when you catch an octopus, you catch an octopus, but you don’t know if it’s a male or a female. But does he know?

Yes ! The octopus is either male or female. It is not a hermaphrodite, unlike its cousins ​​the snails, or its neighbors the groupers…” All episodes: The term Queer is an Anglo-Saxon word meaning weirdWhere odd

. Today the term may be used to refer to

“any person or identity that goes against the norms structuring the heteronormative and cisnormative social model.” FIVE – THE PREDICTION Unforgettable Paul the octopus! Paul(2008-2010) rose to fame due to his predictions of the outcome of the matches of the German football team during the 2008 European Championshipand some 2010 World Cup of which he also designated the winner.

Paul the octopus made their choices known by opening a box in the colors of the winning team. Out of fourteen prognoses thus expressed, twelve turned out to be correct! Where business brings us closer to the Mediterranean it’s as the site says Wikipedia :“Paul was officially born in 2008 at the Sea Life aquarium in Weymouth, England, but Verena Bartsch, who took care of him, claims to have picked him up in Italy. According to him, to the German tabloid Bild-Zeitung, he was actually born in April 2010. In which case there would have been two Paul the octopus (one in 2008, the other in 2010). However, a French wholesaler from the South of France is said to have sold Paul I and his successor.

The two octopuses would therefore be of French origin

born and raised in France, in Sète!” SIX-HANK He has eight tentacles(okay, seven actually, but… **) and it was the revelation of the world of dory the continuation of the adventures of

Nemo the clownfish… This grumpy but big-hearted cephalopod will help the little gang to bring back Dory, the amnesiac surgeonfish, to her parents… Boasting natural camouflage(authentic, editor’s note) which allows him to become almost invisible or to take the color of his choice, he is also

able to move out of water. Which allows him to transport Dory through the film’s water park.

In reality, Hank has no desire to find the ocean, at the bottom of which he seems to have only bad memories. he would even have left one of his eight tentacles there… His hope is to be sent to an aquarium in Cleveland, where he could end his life very quiet, alone… but circumstances will make him a hero. Finally free and alive in the ocean , hank replaces

Mr Ray as a teacher to students. (**) The website Disney Planet
explain that

“Hank only has seven tentacles due to an animation issue with eight where it wasn’t working very well.”

Caisey-Xavier (2019). Common octopus (Octopus vulgaris). Ifremer. SEVEN – SCIENCEA fact sheet of the’Ifremer( French Research Institute for the Exploitation of the Sea 2021) specifies that“in Occitania, the rock octopus is one of the flagship species landed by small-scale coastal fishing (…) In 2019, according to VALPENA data (mapping tool for fishing activities) from the CRPMEM-Occitanie,

83 vessels known as “small trades” practiced octopus fishing pot, trap or using both devices…” And to see:“On the French Mediterranean coast, and in particular in Occitanie, small-scale rock octopus fishing has developed massively since 2010, resulting in a doubling of the volumes landed in a decade. Today, the stability of MEDITS abundances and trawler landings are

rather reassuring indicators on the state of the stock although it is impossible to qualify its exploitation as sustainable in the absence of an evaluation…”But you have to be careful because, as the document of the Ifremer

: “A characteristic of hypervariable stocks like the rock octopus is that they collapse without warning, from one year to the next, as was observed in Morocco in 2002 (Yagi et al., 2009), and our ability today to anticipate this type of collapse is almost nil…” If Occitania

“is by far the main landing region (~88% of tonnage in 2018-2019), significant landings of rock octopus in PACA are observed for the Port-de-Bouc sector (~12%), while the volumes landed further east (Marseille and beyond) remain negligible (<1%).” And more precisely,“whether for small trades or trawlers, the Grau-du-Roi sector (Gard) is the one that lands the most rock octopuses

, and in recent years represents a third of French Mediterranean production. Finally, the

Rock octopus landings have a strong seasonal component, with generally larger landings in the winter months (October-March.)” EIGHT – THEODORE MONOD AND… THE BEATLESWe owe to Theodore Monod the idea that if any species were to survive man and take his place at the head of creation, the octopus would probably be the best placed to run for this position. It’s in his book And if the human adventure should fail(ed. Grasset, 2000 and in Pocket book

) that the geologist, botanist, archaeologist, man of commitment and faith “sheds light on the deep and complex relationships between man and the biosphere. He writes :“Cephalopods have highly developed sense organs, eyes as sophisticated as ours, and it is now believed that octopuses have a memory.

Evolution would pick up, not where man left off, but at an earlier stage., and would continue for a few million years. To get out of the water and breathe air in its gaseous form, cephalopods should in turn rediscover the lungs just as they should learn to protect their eggs against desiccation…” Pure speculation, of course. in order to alert Man to the urgent need to have “one day the wisdom to respect life…” To meditate while listening Octopus’s Garden (1969) des Beatles


I’d like to be / Under the sea / In an octopus’ garden / In the shade… Philippe MORET Find them Animad’Oc


Tell them !

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Animad’Oc (1): The Patou of the Pyrenees, “millennial working tool”

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