Live Science reported recently on some rather strange behavior witnessed by one of our favorite critters here at the GR, the octopus. This one, however, at first glance might not look very octopoid… in fact, researchers were astounded to see the little fellow swimming along very close to the ocean floor with its arms trailing behind it, causing it to resemble a flounder with fins bristling behind it! Here is the link to the extraordinary piece of video.
Octopus and their kin are known for their intelligence and various formidable habits. In previous studies, octopus have not only learned how to twist the lid off a jar, but research involving cuttlefish have shown remarkable instances of communication between members of the same species. Also known as “chameleons of the sea” for their ability to alter their skin color at will very rapidly for camouflaging purposes, cuttlefish also change color as a means of communicating with their kin. Even stranger, certain varieties have been witnessed making symbols and gestures with their arms that seem to indicate communication on some basic level.
One popular study involved filming a cuttlefish as it made various strange gestures, then placing a television directly through the glass from a tank holding another of the creatures while the footage played before it. As the cuttlefish on the television screen began making gestures, the observer through the glass would replicate the symbols, as though acknowledging receipt of the “message.” Below is a video from Live Science showing some of the various extraordinary methods cuttlefish use to communicate, including an intimidation technique that involves causing large dark “eye spots” to appear on its lower body, to create the illusion of a large fish: