I was checking out some nutrition facts for a friend who has an iron deficiency and was really surprised to find that most sites I checked indicate that octopuses are one of the richest sources of iron – Higher than red meats like beef and lamb, and comparable to ultra-high sources like organ meats.
Here’s my understanding…
I assume that mammal organs and muscle are high in iron largely due to the iron component of haemoglobin.
But, octopuses don’t have haemoglobin, they have haemocyanin which uses copper for oxygen transport rather than the iron of haemoglobin.
So, if octopuses are high in iron – what are they doing with it?
Perhaps it’s not even true and someone, somewhere just made a mistake and that mistake has then just spread far and wide as fact.
Any cephalopod experts out there that could shed some light on this? 🙂
To cope with the super-low oxygen levels in the deep ocean, the octopus instead uses a copper-based transporter protein called hemocyanin. This is much more efficient in keeping their bodies properly oxygenated. And the copper in hemocyanin makes their blood run blue. Cephalopods aren’t the only animals with hemocyanin. Horseshoe crabs, lobsters and a handful of other invertebrates also make use of this substance instead of hemoglobin.