For a female octopus, the laying of eggs signifies the beginning of the end. Continue reading Why Female Octopuses Self-Destruct After Laying Eggs
You’re a complex organism. You socialize with family and friends, you solve puzzles and make choices. Humans may be some of the most cerebral animals on the planet, but we know we’re not alone in having this sort of behavioral complexity. Crows use tools. Primates create incredible social structures. Whales congregate.
The oceans have been acting weird lately. While some sea creatures have boomed (octopuses), others have busted (humpback whales), and yet others literally melted into goo (starfish). Whether the causes are El Niño or the “Blob” or ultimately climate change, these events point to just how interconnected and poorly understood the ocean ecosystem is—how little of it observable by humans. A marine biologist who studies whales once likened finding a beached one to finding a specimen of a “space alien.” The sea is dark and full of mysteries.
In another episode of “Cephalopods are Basically the Most Amazing Creatures on Earth,” today we get an inside look at the burrowing habits of the southern sand octopus, the pressurized hose of the animal kingdom.
With its eight grasping arms, camouflage-like skin, and large, doughnut-shaped brain, the octopus’ unique physical traits have intrigued scientists for centuries–the late British zoologist Martin Wells dubbed the sea-dwelling creature an alien. Now the predatory mollusk, which is thought to be one of the most intelligent invertebrates, with elaborate problem-solving and learning behaviors, has beat out squid, cuttlefish, and nautiluses in becoming the first cephalopod to have its entire genome sequenced.