Follow TV Tropes


Octopoid Aliens

Go To

A subset of Starfish Aliens, and a popular form for aliens to take in fiction. This kind of design works because octopi already look alien enough to most people.

This kind of alien is especially popular in Japan (particularly of the Martian variety), replacing the Little Green Men and The Greys that are often seen as the archetypical aliens in American media. Japan's take on the concept usually has them with large octopus, squid or jellyfish-like Cephalothorax bodies, long tentacles usually used to stand or to hold things, and a funnel-shaped mouth.

Lovecraftian-inspired Eldritch Abominations often fall into this role, with giant tentacles (often of the octopus variety) sometimes being all you can see of the creature.

See also Cthulhumanoid. Very much often overlaps with Tentacled Terror.



    open/close all folders 

     Anime and Manga  
  • When Chao Lingshen from Mahou Sensei Negima! reveals that she's a Martian, everyone present reacts by imagining her as one of these.
  • Two Martian octopi appear as easily-killed villains in 'Go! Go! Ackman, and one later makes a quick cameo in Dragon Ball Z.
  • K from Puni Puni Poemy eventually discovers that he and his family are these (despite the fact that his parents don't even bother to disguise themselves, he goes to school in a UFO, and is even wearing a fake human body over his tentacles.)
  • Koro-sensei from Assassination Classroom is initially thought to be one of these, before it's revealed that he's an artificial being created on Earth, and that his octopus form isn't even his real form.
  • The king of the galaxy in Dragon Ball Super is basically an octopus wearing a crown. Interestingly, one of his tentacles is a penis, just like real-life octopuses, something Goku learns after trying to shake his "hand".

     Comic Books  

     Films — Animated  
  • Gallaxhar, the eponymous alien from Monsters vs. Aliens is an evil extraterrestrial with octopus-like tentacles instead of legs and a large head shaped like a cephalopod's body.
  • Cale Tucker of Titan A.E. gets a serving of alien spaghetti and meatballs in the scrapyard's commissary: the spaghetti resembles boiled kelp, and the meatballs are small creatures that once had tentacles, but these were obviously chopped off. Despite this handicap, they hop around madly on Cale's plate, perhaps sensing their impending doom.
  • Pleakley, the one eyed alien from Lilo & Stitch has two arms, three legs, and a long, skinny torso that have an flimsy octopus-like quality to them. His design, however, is more comical than truly alien.
  • The Boov from Home are also like this, with multiple tentacles in place of humanoid legs and an ability to change color.

     Films — Live-Action  
  • The Thermians from Galaxy Quest have this as their default form, but they disguise themselves as humans so that the main cast will understand them.
  • In Men in Black, J helps an alien to deliver a baby. During the process he is attacked by several tentacles, and when the mother finally gives birth to the baby, it looked like a grey and squid hybrid.
  • The heptapods in Arrival are very similar to giant octopus aliens, of course except that they have seven tentacles.
  • Though the aliens in Battle: Los Angeles look vaguely humanoid, this is only because they have a humanoid cybernetic frame that their bodies are wrapped around that lets them function on land. When their frames are damaged, their bodies are left immobilized on land and they resemble octopus-like creatures. They also seem to be far more at home in aquatic environments, even preferring to deploy their control systems inside the sewers of Los Angeles instead of on the surface.

  • H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds (1898) is probably the Trope Maker, as the Martian invaders are described as cephalopod-like creatures the size of bears who move around on land with their tentacles. Apparently, Wells came up with the idea by postulating that as the Martians advanced technologically, more and more of their bodies became useless and atrophied away. So by the time they invaded Earth, they're essentially reduced down to a head and a few manipulative tentacles. Oddly the creature redesigns for most of its adaptations (little creatures with multi-colored eyes in the 1953 version and three-legged The Greys in the 2005 version) actually seem less exotic by comparison.
  • H. P. Lovecraft may be the Trope Codifier with the description of the Great Old Ones and related creatures. Most of them involve tentacles of some kind, and his most famous character, Cthulhu explicitly has a face that resembles an octopus, albeit crossed with a human skull.
  • Armada: The Sobrukai are a race of aliens resembling squids and the antagonists of the Fictional Video Game. They reside in an underwater base on another planet.
  • All Jan from Alien in a Small Town have at least two tentacles, but members of the the Warrior Caste have six.
  • The Wellsians from The Crew of the Copper-Colored Cupids are, as their name not-so-subtly suggests, versions of H. G. Wells's Martians (their name comes from the name they give their own planet, "Wellsia"). They are frequently described as "vampire octopuses", but look somewhat less like cephalopods than Wells's originals: their flesh is chalk-white, their tentacles are numerous and uneven (with some forking once or even twice like roots), and instead of beaks, they have almost human-like faces.
  • The Octospiders in Rama II.

     Live-Action TV  
  • The extra-dimensional alien encountered by Crichton in the Farscape episode "Through the Looking Glass" resembled a cephalopod dwelling in a strange non-aquatic medium.
  • The Daleks of Doctor Who. The outer shells are essentially life-support/transportation devices, but on the comparatively rare occasions the actual dalek creatures inside them are shown, they are sometimes cephalopod-like.
  • The Yip-yips of Sesame Street are like benign, childishly curious versions of Wells's Martians.
  • One foe of Ultraseven was Chibu (sometimes Chibull), who sorta looked like a giant brain with tentacles and a face. As his appearance suggests, he didn't have a lot of fighting prowess, but he was definitely one of Seven's more cunning foes.
  • The Outer Limits (1995):
    • In "Worlds Apart", shortly after his ship crashlands on another planet, the astronaut Lt. Christopher Lindy's inflatable raft is attacked by a giant alien squid.
    • In "The Camp", the Commandant keeps a sharrak, an alien creature resembling a giant squid that can split its tentacles in two, at the titular concentration camp. On occasion, he feeds disruptive prisoners to it. The sharrak is itself a food source as the New Masters consider it a delicacy.


     Religion and Mythology 
  • The Hawaiian creation myth posits that our universe is created and destroyed in cycles, and that octopi are the sole survivors of the universe that existed before the current one.

     Video Games  
  • The Mars People from the Metal Slug series are (mostly) green octopoids that stand on their tentacles while wielding rayguns. They also occasionally curl up to float through the air.
  • Octoman from F-Zero is a variation on the concept due to actually having a torso.
  • Octobrains (octopus-like alien brains with tentacles) are regular enemies in the Duke Nukem games.
  • In Insaniquarium, the Psychosquid takes this trope rather literally: it is a red alien that looks almost exactly like an octopus, only with less tentacles and more weapons.
  • Mars' native civilisation in Jamestown: Legend of the Lost Colony is a race of floating betentacled creatures of varying size.
  • The Alien enemies in Miitopia look a lot like octopi. Laser gun-wielding octopi.
  • In the Mother series, Mooks are a race of aliens with octopus-like bodies.
  • In Pokémon Sun and Moon, the first of the Ultra Beasts, Nihilego, is designed to evoke the stereotypical Japanese "jellyfish alien", but the positioning of its tentacles also causes it to resemble a long-haired girl with no face. They are implied to be one of the more common inhabitants of Ultra Space.
  • The Octospiders in Rama, so-named for being cephalopods with hair similar to a spider. They also communicate through colored light patterns, being deaf.
  • The aliens in the "First Contact" mini-game in Rhythm Heaven Megamix are jellyfish-like creatures.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
  • Ecco the Dolphin has the Vortex, who in the case of the drones have this look, with big heads and numerous tentacles and limbs beneath.
  • According to The Other Wiki, designs of the enemy aliens in Space Invaders were based on the octopus-like ones from The War of the Worlds as well as in squids and crabs.
  • Gal Metal has the octopus-looking Octoid aliens.

  • Sam Starfall of Freefall is implied to look like an octopus or squid wrapped around a stick figure artificial skeleton under the environment suit that protects him from Earth-like atmospheres, and humans from going insane from looking at him.

     Western Animation  

     Real Life 
  • Octopuses themselves are incredibly intelligent, displaying advanced problem solving skills and even tool use. However, this intelligence evolved along completely different lines than that of vertebrates such as mammals and birds. In fact, many regard them as the best exemplar we currently have of an "alien" intelligence on Earth.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: