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


    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 [...]

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    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: [...]

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    Scientists Move to Patent Octopus Robot


    Scientists have spent years crafting a very special, creepy robot. One that can crawl over obstacles, swim through surf and grasp just about any object. To achieve all of these tasks, the robot needed to be unlike most other bots. It needed to be soft. In late 2011, a team of researchers in Italy had [...]

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    Elusive Dwarf Octopuses Hatch in Captivity

    dwarf baby octopus

    In the dark of night, between Monday, March 17, and Tuesday, March 18, dozens of fully formed baby octopuses burst forth from their outsized eggs. It seems only natural that these octopuses would begin their life under the cover of darkness. These baby Caribbean dwarf octopuses (Octopus mercatoris) come from an elusive family of octopods [...]

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    How To Grow a Patagonian Red Octopus

    octopus eggs

    Octopuses are tricky animals to keep in captivity. They’re smart, strong and slinky. But surely their eggs much be easier—being naturally contained and all. Not always, it turns out. Researchers in Chile have been on a quest to grow a local octopus species in captivity after it was overfished in the wild. The results of [...]

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    Amazing Mimic Octopus Caught in Thailand [Video]

    mimic octopus

    The mimic octopus (Thaumoctopus mimicus) eluded formal description until 2005. Perhaps it was this banded cephalopod’s incredible impersonation abilities that kept it from science for so long. Its many guises and odd behaviors have been caught on video, but a new specimen, captured off the coast of Thailand, gives researches new evidence of the octopus’s [...]

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    Giant Octopus Checks Out Camera and Diver [Video] [Updated]

    The octopus making headlines this week was probably not—contrary to other claims—attempting to wrestle a diver or take a selfie. But then again, nice, curious invertebrates rarely make headlines. Two divers, Warren Murray and David Malvestuto, were photographing wildlife in Bluefish Cove, off the cost of Carmel, California about 80 feet below the surface, NBC News [...]

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    16 Arms + 6 Hearts = Love? Watch an Octopus Blind Date Live

    octopus date love

      This Valentine’s Day, two octopuses are getting set up on a blind date. And you can watch what happens. Ace, a male giant Pacific octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini) between 40 and 50 pounds and two-and-a-half to three-years old, and YoYo, a female of a similar size and age, will be introduced for the first time [...]

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    National Zoo’s Octopus Dies in the Company of Her Favorite Toy—a Kong

    pandora octopus

    Pandora, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo’s giant Pacific octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini) died at her Washington, D.C. home (tank) Wednesday at the advanced age of five. She stretched more than eight feet across and was the zoo’s longest-lived octopus. Earlier this week, Biologist and keeper of the invertebrate exhibit, Tamie DeWitt, wrote in an email that, “for [...]

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    How the Octopus Creates Instant 3-D Camouflage on Its Skin

    octopus skin camo

    We’ve all seen the amazing video of the octopus that has entirely vanished against a plant, only to flash white and reveal itself as it swims away. The seamless color-matched camouflage is stunning. But we’ve been ignoring an equally as incredible aspect of their camo abilities: 3-D morphing. Yes, they can squeeze their bodies to [...]

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