Today, after more than three years, I must bid farewell to Octopus Chronicles on ScientificAmerican.com. It has been a wild, weird, and fun run.
As many mysteries as the octopus holds—its comprehensive camouflage, smart suckers, agile brain—its genome is surely holding many more (including how it can regenerate its arms—suckers, nerves and all).
First a moment to celebrate Octopus Chronicles‘ 100th post! Little could I have imagined when I started this blog in November 2011 that there would be so much amazing octopus research to cover—and so many wonderful readers.
It’s not very often that a movie comes out that features an octopus as one of the main (speaking) characters. (And they only occasionally become the star of a video game.) So if you wouldn’t mind indulging me for a brief detour into animation territory, let’s see what Hollywood gets right (and wrong) about this [...]
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).
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.
For cannibals, octopuses seem to be surprisingly fun loving. Some have been observed using their funnels to repeatedly blow objects around in their tanks.
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.
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.
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.
STAFFBehind the scenes at Scientific AmericanRead
Anecdotes from the Archive
Anthropology in Practice
Exploring the human condition.Read
Insights into intelligence, creativity, and the mindRead
Everything you always wanted to know about raising science-literate kidsRead
Critical views of science in the newsRead
Dark Star Diaries
Explore the science behind the dog in your bedRead
News and research about endangered species from around the worldRead
Frontiers for Young Minds
Science by and for kids ages 8-15Read
Commentary invited by editors of Scientific AmericanRead
Illusions, Delusions, and Everyday DeceptionsRead
Discussion and news about planets, exoplanets, and astrobiologyRead
MIND Guest Blog
Commentary invited by editors of Scientific American MindRead
Not bad science
New discoveries in animal behavior and cognitionRead
STAFFOpinion, arguments & analyses from the editors of Scientific AmericanRead
More than wires - exploring the connections between energy, environment, and our livesRead
Roots of Unity
Mathematics: learning it, doing it, celebrating it.Read
Adventures in the good science of rock-breaking.Read
STAFFIllustrating science since 1845Read
STAFFA science blog, sans blagueRead
Amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals - living and extinctRead
The Artful Amoeba
A Blog About the Weird Wonderfulness of Life on EarthRead
Exploring and celebrating diversity in science.Read