Animal Videos

#OMG: This octopus is one of the most sophisticated predators on earth

This octopus hunting on the reef shows an incredible ability to change texture and colour at will. But this ability is not the only reason that these animals are true super predators. They are the most intelligent invertebrates on the planet, capable of observational learning and problem solving. They have short term and long term memory. They are incredibly strong and more flexible than any other carnivore. They can shape shift to squeeze into impossibly tiny spaces to hide or to seek prey. They can extend their arms into the smallest crevice, using their suction cups to taste and smell as they forage on the reef. But what most people do not realize is that they are highly specialized hunters that can prey on creatures with seemingly impenetrable shells and exoskeletons. The octopus has a tooth on its tongue that helps it drill a tiny hole in the shells of mollusks and crabs. It can dissolve calcium carbonate, the substance that mollusk shells are made of, using its saliva. It can then inject a toxin or deliver a highly venomous bite, paralyzing and killing the animal in the shell. This makes it easy for the octopus to open the shell and eat the creature inside. Octopuses have sophisticated brains, but the nerve bundles in their arms are complex enough that they can control the movement of all 8 limbs without the need for input from the brain. Using the arms to reach into crevices and hiding spots and the hundreds of suction cups on each arm, it can detect prey without needing to see it. Pound for pound, there are few animals in the ocean that are such efficient and capable predators.

  • Duration: 02:41