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Friday, August 15, 2021

Pop quiz: How many legs does an octopus have?

Wrong! Despite a name that literally means “eight-footed” in Greek, new research into the animal’s behavior reveals a distinct division-of-purpose among those eight tentacles:

Octopuses are reckoned to be the world’s most intelligent invertebrates and are able to use tools with their sucker-covered tentacles.

Helped by more than 2,000 observations by visitors, teams of aquatic specialists carried out a study showing that the creatures seemed to favour their first three pairs of tentacles for grabbing and using objects, Sea Life aquariums said.

“One can assume that the front six tentacles have the function of arms, and that the back two take over the function of legs,” Sea Life biologist Oliver Walenciak said.

Time for a new name, apparently. How about “sea-sucker”?

No telling how this will affect the Detroit Red Wings’ playoff octopus-tossing tradition.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 08/15/2008 06:59:05 PM
Category: Hockey, Science, Wordsmithing
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2 Feedbacks »
  1. I have always been fascinated by octopi — their intelligence amazes me, and there is something very endearing about them.

    Not that I’d want to meet a large one up close…

    Comment by david — 08/16/2008 @ 03:46:30 AM

  2. No kidding on that intelligence. I remember reading something ages ago about some guy who kept one in his aquarium (there’s a single species of octopus that’s small enough to keep in a home saltwater tank). He kept it on a regular schedule as far as the amount of light it would get during the day and night, with lights-out at like 11PM every day. One time, the guy was pulling an all-nighter in the same room as the tank, and kept the lights on well past midnight. He was startled by a squirt of water on the back of his neck — he turns around, and sees his octopus up against the glass, shooting water at him. Basically, it was signaling that it was late and that the lights needed to be turned off!

    Comment by CT — 08/16/2008 @ 07:43:15 PM

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