A photo of larger Pacific striped octopus.

Most octopuses are loners, but larger Pacific striped octopuses, like the one shown here, display surprising social behaviors.

PHOTOGRAPH BY RICH ROSS, CALIFORNIA ACADEMY OF SCIENCES

Katherine Harmon Courage

for National Geographic

PUBLISHED JULY 28, 2014

If recent octopus discoveries have taught us anything, it’s that these eight-armed ocean dwellers are smart. They can use tools, change color in an instant, and commission their arms to solve problems. But they generally do all this as loners.

 Now, new research into a surprisingly social octopus is shattering even the most expansive ideas of known octopus behavior. (Related: “Journey of Octopus Discovery Reveals Them to Be Playful, Curious, Smart.”)

Panamanian biologist Aradio Rodaniche first reported the Pacific striped octopus in 1991 off the coast of Nicaragua, noting its strange behavior—living in groups of possibly up to 40, laying multiple egg clutches, and mating face-to-face and sucker-to-sucker. Most other octopus species, for instance, come together only to mate.

But scientists didn’t see another one of these curious octopuses for another 20 years, when Richard Ross, a biologist at the California Academy of Sciences, came across one in 2012. Through a commercial collector, he acquired several wild specimens to study in the lab.

Ross is one of the few scientists who are studying and observing some of this octopus’s truly bizarre—and sometimes anxiety-provoking—behavior, which he and his team will describe in an upcoming publication.

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From The Coral Triangle, The 2011 Hearst Philippine Biodiversity Expedition, A California Academy of Sciences Special Publication

 

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From The Coral Triangle, The 2011 Hearst Philippine Biodiversity Expedition, A California Academy of Sciences Special Publication
Originally published in ReefsMagazine.com and on this site

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penn
On April 6, 2014, I was on Penn’s Sunday School talking to Penn Jillette, Michael Goudeau and Matt Donnelly about all kinds of stuff including the Bobbit worm. The iTunes blurb – “Rich Ross tells us horror stories about cephalopods and Jay Frank tells us about the newest ways to monetize music.” I am in and out all over the episode because I was actually in studio for the taping and the Rich proper part starts around 1:06

Listen and  subscribe to the podcast on itunes – http://itunes.apple.com/podcast/penns-sunday-school/id504257078 . If you don’t like itunes you can hear it here

 

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Originally from Advanced Aquarist

This week, Chad Vossen of Vossen Aquatics and builder of the famed Vossen Larval Snagger, started feeding tiny clownfish, including Platinum clowns to his very young Dwarf Cuttlefish, Sepia bandensis. Cuttlefish hunting and feeding is always amazing to watch, but watching a cuttlefish hunt and eat a captive bred designer clownfish brings the experience to a whole ‘nother level that will thrill some while making others uncomfortable. After all that is a captive bred fish, and every captive bred fish is special, and expensive captive bred fish are even more special right?

One of the biggest hurdles in breeding cuttlefish and other cephalopods is the need for different sizes of live foods as the cuttles grow. Hatchling cuttles need tiny prey, juvenile cuttles need bigger prey, and adults need still bigger prey. More »

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