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Octopus Chronicles

Octopus Chronicles

Adventures and Discoveries with the Planet's Smartest Cephalopods
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    Katherine Harmon Courage Katherine Harmon Courage is a freelance writer and contributing editor for Scientific American. Her book Octopus! The Most Mysterious Creature In the Sea is out now from Penguin/Current. Follow on Twitter @KHCourage.
  • Rare Octopuses Get Their Close-Up

    There are some 300 known species of octopus. From the huge giant Pacific octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini) to the tiny poisonous blue-ringed octopus (genus Hapalochlaena), from the shallow-water mimic octopus (Thaumoctopus mimicus) to the deep-sea Dumbo octopus (genus Grimpoteuthis). But most of what we know about the animal comes from a few well-studied, (semi) lab-tolerant species. [...]

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    Soft Octopus Escape—and Paperback Octopus! Release [Video]

    octopus book paperback

    Octopuses long ago shed their ancestors’ protective shells in favor of a slinkier, floppier, softer existence. They were perhaps never meant to be held down by hard covers. In fact, many scientists credit this unlikely evolution for their wily intelligence. That is why I am extra excited for the publication of Octopus! The Most Mysterious [...]

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    Octopus Play and Squid Eyeballs—and What They Can Teach Us about Brains

    For cannibals, octopuses seem to be surprisingly fun loving. Some have been observed using their funnels to repeatedly blow objects around in their tanks. Others, such as one common octopus named Dorian, have spent a countless minutes passing Lego blocks around among their many arms or towing them back and forth across the surface of [...]

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    Mistaken Octopus Sex Identity Leads to Multi-Armed Wrestling Match [Video]

    The octopus, by in large, practices very safe sex. You would, too, if you and the object of your affection were both cannibals. But the algae octopus (Abdopus aculeatus) has developed a relatively sophisticated mating system that involves far more close contact than many other octopus species. In populations of these cephalopods, males and females [...]

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    New Octopus Disguise Material for the Human World [Video]

    It’s no doubt that, with a repertoire of everything from colorful coral to a poisonous sea snake, the octopus could win any costume contest handily. But while most of us are picking our way through fake fangs and unnecessarily revealing outfits, one team of researchers is working to bring the octopus’s camouflaging skills to the [...]

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    Is Smell the Key to an Octopus’s Heart?

    We know that octopuses have awesome visual systems and super-sensitive suckers. We have even learned that they can hear. But little scientific attention has been paid to their sense of smell. And new research suggests that the octopus’s olfactory system could play a strong role in the octopus’s life cycle—especially when it comes to mating. [...]

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    Party with These 8 Famous Octopuses to Celebrate Octopus Awareness Day!

    octopus awareness day

    It’s Octopus Awareness Day, and although we at Octopus Chronicles treat every day as if it were a celebratory day for the cephalopod, today it gets extra special treatment. So to ring in the best day of the year, here are eight of the most famous—and infamous—octopuses—real and perhaps occasionally mythical: 8. Billye: This hungry [...]

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    Glowing Octopus Bacteria Light Up Living Lamp [Video]

    glowing octopus

    Octopuses might be charismatic, but not many can literally light up a room. One enterprising designer, however, has figured out how to repurpose bacteria from rare glowing deep-sea octopuses for terrestrial illumination. In the form of a stylish lamp—that requires no electricity. [See video below.] Inspired by glowing, bioluminescent waves, graduate student Teresa van Dongen, [...]

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    First Common Octopus Cannibalism Filmed in the Wild [Video]

    octopus cannibalism

    Perhaps it’s time we stopped feeling quite so bad about eating octopus. Octopuses dine on other octopuses, too. And for the first time, that behavior has been caught on video in the common octopus in the wild—three times. Cannibalistic behavior in the lab setting is well known. This is one of the reasons octopuses can be so [...]

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    Wireless Robot Octopus Swims with the Fishes [Video]

    octopus robot swim

    Robot octopuses can already walk, jet along and even grasp tools. But new advances have these machines swimming faster than ever. And thanks to the addition of soft, fleshy webs, they’re starting to look—and move—much more like the real thing, too. In fact, the latest octopus robot has already been for a successful swim—alongside real [...]

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