June 23, 2024

Sydney common octopus throwing muddy shells |  free press

Sydney common octopus throwing muddy shells | free press

Throwing was previously thought to be a behavior found almost exclusively in mammals. Now researchers have discovered that the squid also targets certain species. but why?


Sydney’s common octopuses throw mud, mussels and algae around – apparently aiming at certain species, but also at fish. Researchers in Australia have seen this unusual behavior of a squid (the octopus tetricus) in underwater movie recordings from a bay in the southeast of the country. The team wrote in “PLOS ONE” magazine.

Video recordings from Jervis Bay in New South Wales date back to 2015 and 2016. The team, led by philosopher of science Peter Godfrey Smith of the University of Sydney, identified 102 cases in their analyzes in a group of about a dozen squid, and in which were individual molded samples of marine sediment.

Deliberate action

She added that the Sydney octopus collected materials such as silt or clams and expelled them by expelling water at high speed through the funnel-tubular organ. Squids use the funnel organ for respiration and locomotion, among other things. “In order to perform the throws, the octopuses had to place the funnel organ in an unusual position, indicating that the behavior was intentional,” the statement said.

Although both sexes are observed throwing up, females (66 percent) predominate. Among other things, the behavior occurs when males try to mate. Animals that were the target of “attacks” often crouched or raised one arm in defense. “But we haven’t seen an octopus get hit by a toss and then ‘shoot’ and bring it back.” The animals would also dispose of food scraps and other items to clean out their shelter.

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“Throwing objects is an unusual behavior in animals,” the study said. Targeted throwing is often considered “specifically human” and likely played an important role in evolution. To date, the behavior has also been observed in some species of monkeys (particularly chimpanzees and capuchins) and elephants.

It remains unclear what social role this behavior plays in octopuses. Oddly enough, for example, other animals rarely run into litter — some even become completely empty, according to the researchers. (dpa)