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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.
  • 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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    8 Great Octopus Videos! [Video]

    It’s Octopus Chronicles‘ 88th post! To celebrate, I’ve gone on an all-arms hunt through the deep crevasses of the internet to find eight of my favorite octopus videos. Some are old classics (such as Roger Hanlon‘s amazing, reverse-vanishing octopus) and others are new and stunning—and one even features an octopus walking (slithering?) on land. Really, [...]

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    Will Climate Change Bring an Invasion of the Octopuses—Or Halt It?

    Climate change is bad news for many species. Environments are changing more rapidly than plants and animals can adapt to—or move out of—them. Octopuses, however, reproduce so quickly (and multitudinously) and have such short generation times, they are generally well primed to adapt and move.  The common Sydney octopus (Octopus tetricus), for one, is expanding [...]

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    Common Octopus Proves Uncommonly Difficult to Define

    The seemingly ubiquitous common octopus (Octopus vulgaris) is our platonic octopus ideal. Even if Plato didn’t write about it, Aristotle did. And since then, it has been the most widely studied (and consumed) species. But contemporary science is complicating things, a new paper, published this month in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, details. The [...]

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    Dumbo Octopus Gives Rare View [Video]

    New, stunning video from a deep-sea vehicle reveals a rare view of the Dumbo octopus. Don’t let the name fool you—the Dumbo octopus (Grimpoteuthis) is no dummy. And those protrusions on the side of its body are not—like its cartoon namesake flaunts—big ears, but rather fins, which help it swim above the seafloor. This strange and [...]

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    Octopus-Inspired Camouflage Flashes to Life in Smart Material

    Octopuses and their cephalopod cousins are the undisputed masters of disguise. An octopus can change its color, texture and luminosity faster than you can say “camouflage.” So far our lowly human attempts at imitation have been quite crude. But a flashy new smart material might just be our closest step yet. The main tool the [...]

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