ADVERTISEMENT
  About the SA Blog Network
Octopus Chronicles

Octopus Chronicles


Adventures and Discoveries with the Planet's Smartest Cephalopods
Octopus Chronicles HomeAboutContact
  • Profile

    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.
  • DNA Finds New Octopus Species Hiding in Plain Sight

    octopus

    Describing a new species for science is not quite as easy as it was in the days of 17th- or 18th-century naturalists. But that just means we have to look a little more closely. Such as, into an organism’s DNA. And rather than hunting through the dense jungles for years, scientists can, with a little [...]

    Keep reading »

    Meet Your Dr. Octopus: Surgical Octo Arms

    octopus

    Robotic surgery has proved itself to be less than perfect so far. Stiff robotic limbs, burning surfaces, numerous complications. But what if that surgeon’s assistant was less like a standard robot—and more like an octopus? A team of researchers is hoping to use inspiration from the octopus’s flexibility and chemical complexity to develop a new [...]

    Keep reading »

    Stunning Video Explains How Octopuses Out-Change Chameleons

    octopus

    Chameleons are often considered the quintessential color-changers. But the octopus outdoes them—using an entirely different mechanism to alter its appearance. “Octopuses are one of the best animals on the planet at camouflage—they change color, shape and texture,” explains James Wood, a marine biologist in a recent video for the site Macronesia. Chameleons depend on hormones to cue their color [...]

    Keep reading »

    Tiny Hairs Help Octopus Suckers Stick

    octopus sucker hair

    Just when you thought octopuses couldn’t get any weirder: It turns out that their suckers have an unexpectedly hairy grip. Octopuses can form an impressively tight grip—even on a rough surface. And recent detailed microscopic imaging of their suckers revealed an intricate landscape of fine grooves that make these improbable holds possible. But how do [...]

    Keep reading »

    Why Don’t Octopuses Get Stuck to Themselves?

    octopus sucker

    An octopus might be one of the most intelligent invertebrates, but it doesn’t always know what, exactly, its arms are doing. How these animals manage to avoid tangling themselves up is a major feat. But another—of no small concern—is keeping free of the strong grasp of its own suckers. New research, published May 15 in [...]

    Keep reading »

    Health: Are Octopuses Rocking Too Much Heavy Metal?

    octopus

    Octopuses are a popular entrée for plenty of predators—including us humans. And for good reason. Octopuses are nutritious, with loads of lean muscle in those amazing arms, and plenty of good minerals. But are they also harboring hazardous heavy metals? Surprisingly, “there is no information on the levels and magnitude of octopus contamination by heavy [...]

    Keep reading »

    Mating Octopuses Prefer Crab Legs

    octopus diet

    Male octopuses don’t usually wine and dine prospective mates. But prior to mating, both males and females do seem to be in the mood for one date-worthy food: crab, according to new research published online in the Journal of Shellfish Research. Scientists studied two-spot octopuses (Octopus bimaculatus) in the Bay of Los Angeles in the [...]

    Keep reading »

    Scientists Learn How to Put an Octopus to Sleep

    octopus anesthesia sleep

    We can’t really ask an octopus to count backward from 10. Which is just one of the tricky things about putting an octopus under. If knocking an octopus out (for science) sounds like an unusual procedure, well, it is. But it’s likely going to get a lot more common in labs around the world. Canada, [...]

    Keep reading »

    Does the Octopus Really “Fart” Ink?—and Other Strange Facts [Video]

    octopus

    It’s true that the octopus is super weird. These animals have blue blood and three hearts. And as online personality and humorist Ze Frank points out in his latest video creation, it seems that they can also “fart ink at a moment’s notice”—pointing to this as “evolution at its finest.” The video’s tongue-in-cheek tone might [...]

    Keep reading »

    How Lil Wayne, the NYC Octopus, Will Help Scientists Understand the Brain

    BROOKLYN—It wasn’t hard to name Lil Wayne. He actually volunteered to take the rapper’s moniker. On April 2, Frank Grasso, director of the Biomemetic and Cognitive Robotics Lab at Brooklyn College, showed me around his lab spaces—from where they build mobile robots to where they keep their axolotls and fiddler crabs to the crown jewel: [...]

    Keep reading »

    Search this blog:


    • Year:
    • Month:
    • Keyword:

    More from Scientific American

    Scientific American Dinosaurs

    Get Total Access to our Digital Anthology

    1,200 Articles

    Order Now - Just $39! >

    X

    Email this Article

    X