As we've noted in our creature corner, and as Carl Zimmer discusses in today's in-depth Slate story, the Octopus is not your average marine invertebrate. It's an Ivy League invertebrate. Well, sort of.
The eight-tentacled wonder may possess both long- and short-term memory, and they appear to be able to learn. And while we can't truly compare human and octo-intelligence, Octopuses would win the seafloor's geography bee, it seems.
Zimmer tells of one experiment where octopuses were placed in tanks with an assortment of landmarks. It took only a few trials for the octopuses to find the quickest route to a hidden exit in the bottom of the tank.
Plus, they do this nifty thing dubbed the moving-rock trick: "An octopus morphs into the shape of a rock and then inches across an open space. Even though it's in plain view, predators don't attack it. They can't detect its motion because the octopus matches its speed to the motion of the light in the surrounding water."
Pretty clever, eh?
- CITES Listing Countdown: Less Than Three Weeks until Porbeagle Sharks are Protected Posted Wed, August 27, 2014
- Ocean Roundup: 20 Coral Species to Gain Federal Protection, Shell Files New Plan for Arctic Drilling, and More Posted Fri, August 29, 2014
- Ocean Roundup: Maine’s Scallop Fishery Could See Closures, Sydney Harbor Littered with Microplastics, and More Posted Tue, August 26, 2014
- Photos: Oceana in Belize Exposes Belizean Youth to the Wonder of the Sea Posted Wed, August 27, 2014
- Conservation Groups Plan Lawsuit to Protect Sperm Whales Posted Fri, August 29, 2014