Animals

Why Is This Coconut Octopus Walking So Strangely?

Wednesday, 7 March

“The creeping murderer, the octopus … pretending now to be a bit of weed, now a rock … runs lightly on the tips of its arms.” – John Steinbeck, Cannery Row Actually, this coconut octopus is on the hunt for food, and may be carrying prey that it’s already caught.

Walking and mimicry are common for octopus species in sandy habitats. This urchin is not on the menu – it’s too spiny to eat. But, the octopus grabs something next to the urchin – likely a bivalve or crab. The fanning and pulsing of the octopus’s body indicates that it’s taken prey into its arms.

It ‘skulks’ away to find a safe place to devour its catch, away from predators. The octopus’s donut-shaped brain wraps around its esophagus so it has to eat tiny bites of food, or else its expanding esophagus would damage its brain.

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