March 22, 2023

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Octopuses sometimes also feel the need to throw things

Octopuses sometimes also feel the need to throw things

When the rage is high, the congener can expect crust, silt, or algae around his ears.

It is not an unknown phenomenon among humans. When we are angry or frustrated, we like to throw something up. But it is clear that we are not alone. Researchers have discovered that octopuses sometimes feel the need to throw things. And sometimes they focus completely on homogeneous.

Video shot
The researchers made the discovery after collecting more than 20 hours of footage using GoPro cameras in an Australian marine reserve. The footage was repeatedly captured by an octopus deliberately spewing shells, silt and algae. Both males and females seem to be guilty of this, although females often do so.

An octopus was caught throwing the items away. Photo: Peter Godfrey Smith et al.

The team even saw octopuses purposefully aiming for a congener. In one case, a female octopus pelted a man who was trying to mate with her several times with sludge. The male had to bend over to avoid being hit. In addition, one of the researchers’ cameras also suffered and the team saw in two cases how an octopus targeted an unexpected fish. In only 17 percent of cases, the octopus managed to hit its target. “This is wrong in most cases,” researcher Peter Godfrey Smith said.

By the way, octopuses have a different throwing style than humans. When they pick up something, they grab it in a web of their tentacles and then release it with full force by a large jet of water coming from a so-called “siphon” (a type of muscular tube) (see also illustration below).

This illustration shows octopuses tossing silt, shells, and algae. Photo: Peter Godfrey Smith et al.

Or throwing octopuses out of aggression at each other? “It’s hard to prove,” Godfrey Smith says. “And we’ve never seen a victim get hurt by throwing anything.”

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On top of each other
However, in some cases it certainly appears to be the result of a high emotion. According to Godfrey Smith, this may have something to do with the fact that octopuses live in cramped conditions. “They live almost on top of each other in the studied habitat,” says the researcher. It is not for nothing that this place was dubbed “Octopolis” by the team. Godfrey Smith speculates, “I think a lot of target throws at certain things are an attempt to create ‘personal space.

Researchers believe that the need to throw things away may have something to do with anger. Octopuses can change color. And dark colors associate scientists with aggression. The new video shows that the darker colored octopuses threw more force and were more likely to hit one of them.

In short, while it is difficult to determine the exact intent behind the throws, it seems very likely, according to the researchers, that at least sometimes they have a social cause. They conclude, “The observed behaviors suggest that octopuses target a specific species in some social context.” This is wonderful. Such behavior has never been observed in non-human mammals.

Did you know…
… It has already been proven that sometimes octopuses are definitely not lovers? For example, researchers have seen several octopuses throwing punches at fish. No, the octopus does not always have a good reason for this. Read there over here More about!