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By Nancy Posted in News Tagged

Octopuses Full-On Fight with Neighbors: Caught on Tape


Talk about your “neighbor disputes”…Scientists have for the first time caught on film mud slinging and fighting between octopuses that live near one another.

“Octopuses are known for their solitary nature, but in Jervis Bay, Australia, the octopus (Octopus tetricus) lives at very high densities. A team of cephalopod researchers decided to film the creatures with underwater cameras to see whether — and how — they interact…

Watch Octopuses Throw Things at Each Other

“One behavior stood out: instances in which the eight-limbed creatures gathered shells, silt or algae with their arms — and then hurled them away, propelling them with water jetted from their siphon. And although some of the time it seemed that they were just throwing away debris or food leftovers, it did sometimes appear that they were throwing things at each other.”


A Full-On Fight

“The team found clues that the octopuses were deliberately targeting one another. Throws that made contact with another octopus were relatively strong and often occurred when the thrower was displaying a uniform dark or medium body color. Another clue: sometimes the octopuses on the receiving end ducked. Throws that made octo-contact were also more likely to be accomplished with a specific set of arms, and the projectile was more likely to be silt.”

An octopus neurobiologist at the University of Naples Federico II in Italy, says the work opens a new door for inquiries into the social lives of these famously clever animals. (source)

An octopus reaches out a tentacle to another octopus, which throws out a cloud of material.

A gloomy octopus throws silt at another octopus as it approaches. For hitting fellow octopuses, silt is the projectile of choice.Credit: P. Godfrey-Smith et al./PLOS ONE (CC BY 4.0) (source)

Journal reference: Godfrey-Smith, P., Scheel, D., Chancellor, S., Linquist, S. & Lawrence, M.  In the line of fire: Debris throwing by wild octopuses, November 9, 2022, PLoS ONE 17, e0276482 (2022).  doi: https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-022-03592-w.  https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0276482.  Study


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