It’s no secret that octopuses are some of the smartest creatures in the sea. They’ve been spotted fleeing from aquariums down into drainpipes, transforming themselves in ways no other sea life can, and are generally considered to be magnificent problem solvers. So when you watch the larger Pacific striped octopus use the ol’ “tap you on the shoulder” technique to catch its prey, the one thing you can’t be is surprised. Although the prey definitely is.
In the clip, we see the exact behavior Caldwell describes, with a specimen of the larger Pacific striped octopus very slowly extending out a tentacle toward an unsuspecting shrimp, and then tapping it in order to drive it right into its own deadly grasp.
The larger Pacific striped octopus doesn’t only have strange hunting habits, either. This odd little cephalopod is also unique in its social and sexual behaviors. While most species of octopus are generally solitary, the larger Pacific striped octopus has been seen moving around in groups of 40 or more. Most species of octopus also have extraordinary violent mating behaviors — where the male has to keep himself at a distance from the female for fear of being killed and/or eaten — but these little tricksters prefer to get up close and personal during mating, and will even “kiss” their beaks together.
Caldwell also told the Berkeley News that “Only by observing the context in which these behaviors occur in the wild can we begin to piece together how this octopus has evolved behaviors so radically different from what occurs in most other species of octopus.” Which is probably easier said than done when you’re dealing with a creature that’s evolved to utilize the oldest tricks in the book.
What do you think about this tricky octopus? Give us your thoughts in the comments below!
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Images: YouTube / UC Berkeley