The vanishing octopus is back. This stunning cephalopod, caught on video by Roger Hanlon, a senior scientist at the Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory, has been making the rounds online again.
The past couple posts have described some pretty severe experiments on octopuses, including: showing how octopus arms can grow back after inflicted damage and how even severed octopus arms can react to stimuli.
Like a starfish, an octopus can regrow lost arms. Unlike a starfish, a severed octopus arm does not regrow another octopus. But the biological secrets inside their arm regeneration feat do hold the promise of learning more about how we might better regenerate our own diseased or lost tissue.
The eight wily arms of an octopus can help the animal catch dinner, open a jar and even complete a convincing disguise. But these arms are not entirely under the control of the octopus’s brain.
Most octopuses get around primarily by crawling along the seafloor. And if they need to get somewhere in a hurry, they can employ their funnels to jet away like their pelagic cousins, squid.
Octopuses offer an extreme engineering challenge: They are almost infinitely flexible, entirely soft-bodied and incredibly intelligent. Are we vertebrate humans ever going to be able to build anything as deformable and complex as a real octopus?
Octopus-inspired propulsion system; image courtesy of Fraunhofer IPA An octopus spends most of its time crawling around on the seafloor looking for dinner—and trying to avoid becoming it.
Antarctic octopod Pareledone charcoti; image courtesy of Armin Rose Octopuses' oddities run deep—right down to their blue-hued blood. And new research shows how genetic alterations in this odd-colored blood have helped the octopus colonize the world's wide oceans—from the deep, freezing Antarctic to the warm equatorial tropics.The iron-based protein (hemoglobin) that carries oxygen in the blood for us red-blooded vertebrates becomes ineffective when faced with low-oxygen levels.
Image courtesy of Wood/Kenchington/O'Dor/Smithsonian/YouTube Most octopuses take the million-to-one-odds strategy when it comes to reproduction. They lay thousands—if not tens or hundreds of thousands—of tiny eggs.
The bioluminescent ring on a female Bolitaena pygmaea; image courtesy of Michael Vecchione/NOAA/Smithsonian Institution Many animals go to great lengths to attract a mate.
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