Once again going back to stellaris (a videogame by Paradox Interactive), I've gained enough inspiration to ask the question, “The feasibility of molluscoids”.

Molluscoids are mollusks, and in the game, a few of them are seen with some tentacle like appendages or some sort of hard plating covering a portion of there body. However much like the last question I asked, which was “feasibility of fungoids”, I’m going to use the same whats it asking for format.

  1. Is it feasible for mollusk to evolve intelligence.

  2. What real world mollusks show some or any signs of intelligence, if any.

I’m going to define intelligence for this question sense intelligence is not universally defined by certain categories:

  1. Form a language

  2. Learn and remember places

  3. Adapt and adjust to a new situation

  4. Manipulate ones environment for better survival

  • 9
    $\begingroup$ One word: octopus $\endgroup$
    – Luke B
    Dec 29, 2019 at 20:12
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Some cephalopods exibit remarkable intelligence, for an invertebrate. So, yes, it is possible, and it's not hard to find examples. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Dec 29, 2019 at 22:23
  • $\begingroup$ I'd like to second @pydude. Octopi already do items 2, 3, and 4 on your list of intelligence requisites. $\endgroup$
    – Snowshard
    Dec 30, 2019 at 0:43
  • $\begingroup$ I was going to answer based on what would force octopuses to evolve out of water; life on land means you can develop fire, which leads to bigger brains and refined metal tools. However, it seems like this question encompasses both the intelligence and evolutionary aspects worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/questions/19265/… . It might be worth closing this as a near-duplicate. $\endgroup$
    – Zxyrra
    Jan 9, 2020 at 18:40
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Does this answer your question? Building the armored octopus $\endgroup$ Jan 17, 2020 at 17:46

1 Answer 1


The are existing Mollusks (octopi most famously) that display all the behaviours you are looking for. They can communicate by changing the color of their skin (although it might be a stretch to call that language). They can learn and remember navigational features. They are highly adaptable ( google for some videos of tool using octopi). They can alter their environments to construct nests and dens out of whatever is available.

If you want to project that forward however, you would need to decide when your species leaves the water (if they ever do). The longer they evolve and develop underwater, the more 'alien' they are going to end up.

If you want to see a good example of this, check out 'Children of Ruin' by Adrian Tchaikovsky. It features a race of sentient, space faring octopi who were originally bred to assist with undersea construction.

  • $\begingroup$ Tchaikovsky's Child of... series is one of the best sci-fi series out there. The previous book, Children of Time, raised my standards for sci-fi storytelling. $\endgroup$
    – Harabeck
    Jan 17, 2020 at 20:11

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