Copyright Free Vintage Octopus Illustrations To Download

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Cool Free Vintage Octopus Prints

Did you know that the plural of octopus is actually octopuses? Not as I misbelieved octopi. Octopus is actually a Greek word and not Latin that is why the plural doesn’t end in i. Here I have curated a cool collection of vintage octopus illustrations free to print.

I think my fascination with octopuses started when I first spotted one whilst snorkeling as a child. I just thought they were the most amazing sea creatures.

If I remember correctly octopuses did feature heavily in the illustrated books I read as a child. Often on illustrated alphabet charts, the ‘O’ is a big smiley octopus.

As an adult, my interest in octopuses has become more macabre in that I love to eat them. A treat every year when visiting my parents in Portugal is a trip to the famous Octopus restaurants of Santa Luzia in the Algarve.

There are over 300 species of Octopus and they are grouped in the same order as squid and cuttlefish. They live in every ocean in the world, and different species have adapted to different marine habitats. 

Scientists regard octopuses as the most intelligent of all the invertebrates. That is because they can learn from experience and have both a short- and long-term memory.

Octopuses have even been observed using tools in an intelligent manner. They are also brilliant at camouflage.

This collection of vintage octopus illustrations have been divided into 2 sections; colour and black and white prints.

collection of vintage octopus illustrations

To download a higher resolution of the vintage octopus illustrations click on the title above the image.

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Colour Vintage Octopus Illustrations

1. Common Octopus – 1896

A beautiful vintage octopus illustration of the common octopus from the Gulf of Naples. The octopus drawing is from the book ” I Cefalopodi viventi nel Golfo di Napoli (sistematica) : monografia “ (Cephalopods living in the Gulf of Naples (systematic): monograph) by Comingio Merculiano published in 1896.

The common octopus ( (Octopus vulgaris) is the most studied of all octopus species. It’s a global species whose habitat extends from the Atlantic, the Mediterranean Sea and the southern coast of England.

The species diet consists of crabs, crayfish and two-shelled mollusks which it can break into with its beak. The common octopus hunts at dusk. The octopus can camouflage by changing colour to blend into its surroundings.

vintage octopus illustration

2. White Spotted Octopus – 1896

Another beautiful Mediterranian vintage octopus drawing by Comingio Merculiano. The species of octopus is the white spotted octopus (Callistoctopus Macropus).

The octopus feeds at night by wrapping itself around a coral and probing with its arms among the branches, looking for fish and invertebrates that seek protection there.

Vintage octopus drawing white spotted octopus

3. Illustrations of Octopuses -1904

A plate illustrating octopuses from Ernst Haeckel‘s Kunstformen der Natur (1904). Ernst Haeckel was a German zoologist and artist who pushed the work of theories of Charles Darwin in Germany.

vintage octopuses drawings

4. White Spotted Octopus – 1851

This vintage octopus illustration is from “Mollusques méditeranéens [!]; observés, décrits, figurés, et chromolithographiés d’après le vivant …” (Mediterranean molluscs [!]; observed, described, figured, and chromolithographed from the living ) by Jean Baptiste Vérany.

vintage octopus print

5. Musky Octopus 1851

Another vintage octopus print of a Mediterranean octopus from Jean Baptiste Vérany 1851 octopus identification guide.

musky octopus drawing

6. The Cephalopoda (1975)

I’m sorry I don’t know much about this octopus print except that it is from the book “The Cephalopoda” by Carl Chun (1975). It was such a lovely print I just had to include it in this collection.

vintage octopus print free

7. South American Octopus – 1835

An identification poster of Atlantic octopuses from the book ” Voyage dans l’Amérique méridional” (Travel in South America) by Alcide Dessalines d’Orbigny.

vintage octopus poster

8. Octopus salutii (Spider Octopus) – 1896

The spider octopus drawing is from the book ” I Cefalopodi viventi nel Golfo di Napoli (sistematica) : monografia “ (Cephalopods living in the Gulf of Naples (systematic): monograph) by Comingio Merculiano published in 1896.

vintage spider octopus illustration

9. Octopus salutii (Spider Octopus) – 1851

A vintage octopus illustration of a spider octopus from Jean Baptiste Vérany 1851 octopus identification guide.

Octopus saluttii illustration

Black and White Octopus Images

1. Octopus areolatus – Webfoot Octopus

Black and white vintage octopus illustration of a webfoot octopus by A. Pollock 1886.

black and white webfoot octopus drawing

2. Octopus cyanea – Big Blue Octopus

This is one of my favourites and another one of Pollock’s vintage octopus illustrations 1886.

big blue octopus print

3.Octopus Pallidus – Pale Octopus

From the same collection by A.Pollock 1886

Black and white octopus illustration

4. Octopus salutii (Spider Octopus)

From the same collection by A.Pollock 1886.

Octopus print

5. Octopus verrucosus

From the same collection by A.Pollock 1886

Octopus Verrucosus

6. Kraken – Octopus Sea Monster

The kraken is a mythological giant octopus sea monster originating in Scandinavian folklore. According to the Norse legends, the Kraken dwells off the coasts of Norway and Greenland and terrorizes nearby sailors.

This illustration of a Kraken attacking a ship is by the French naturalist Pierre Dénys de Montfort. He studied the existence of gigantic octopuses from being inspired by a description from 1783 of an eight-metre long tentacle found in the mouth of a sperm whale.

Giant octopus

If you liked these vinatge octopus illustrations then you’ll love these other vintage sea life prints.

17 thoughts on “Copyright Free Vintage Octopus Illustrations To Download

  1. Wow! These are so detailed and colorful! Love seeing your printables, and you are so kind to share them with us!

  2. Hi Claire!
    Such neat octopus prints! It’s so interesting that they have been observed using tools in an intelligent manner. Thanks for sharing at Homestyle Gathering!
    >>> Kim

  3. How wonderful! I so enjoyed looking at these octopuses. Thank you! I’m thinking about putting the White Spotted one on a t-shirt. What do you think?

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