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------------------------------------------------ Camouflaged octopuses 'walk' on two tentacles
If you are using your limbs to disguise yourself, how do you flee danger without giving yourself away? The answer, when you have eight arms, is to use six arms for disguise and to walk across on the seafloor on the other two.
That is the extraordinary behaviour observed for the first time in two species of octopus by Christine Huffard's team from the University of California, Berkeley, US.
Defying the notion that bipedal motion requires muscles attached to a rigid skeleton, the octopuses used the strong, flexible muscles in their back arms to walk across the seabed when pursued by camera-wielding biologists.
The two species have slightly different strategies. Octopus marginatus from Indonesia wraps itself into a ball while walking, perhaps to imitate a coconut rolling with the current.
Tiny Octopus aculeatus of Australia holds up six of its arms to disguise itself as a clump of seaweed, while walking at up to 14 centimetres per second - faster than it can manage using more than two arms.
"This camouflage is so good, it's easy to lose sight of the animal," Huffard says. Many other octopus species have back arms that might be strong enough to allow walking, she says.
"I have never ever heard of any behaviour remotely similar to this," says Steve O'Shea, a cephalopod expert at the Auckland Institute of Technology in New Zealand. "This is yet another example of how little we know about these creatures."
I find this article to be amazing for a few reasons. I'll just briefly throw them out there and hope some discussion can arise.
1) the first thing seemingly proposed was whether these incredible animals can be modeled for technological inventions/innovations
2) the researchers probably didn't first think "oh shit, these will be great biotech.." they probably genuinely like the little guys and find them interesting. (I worked with biologists/researchers/professors for about a year) from a practical standpoint, they just have to worry about continuing to get government research grants and being open to new grant proposals so they can do what they love and have the funding..
yeah, anyway. things like this are one reason that I love being human and that keep me going.
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