Planet Earth

Tool-Using Octopus: Coconut Shells Become Body Armor

DiscoblogBy Brett IsraelDec 14, 2009 11:30 PM

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news
 

We should probably stop being amazed at the things octopuses can do and just accept that they're just unfathomably cool (pun fully intended). Case in point: The veined octopus totes around coconut shells that it then hides in. Check out the footage, courtesy of Australia's Museum Victoria: In another video on YouTube that Ed Yong features in his post on Not Exactly Rocket Science, a coconut-clad octopus is strolling along the ocean floor on two tentacles and doing a pretty good job of disguising itself as a rolling coconut. So what's the big deal? Well, as Yong points out, the veined octopus uses the coconut shells as actual tools and is able to deploy them as needed. Unlike hermit crabs that live inside their body armor, the veined octopus only uses its armor when it senses danger. It's able to seal itself inside a hollow coconut husk using its suckers to hold two halves of a shell in place. Because it has the foresight to carry around the components of a make-shift panic room, this means the octopus is even smarter than originally believed. Scientists are now discovering that some marine invertebrates possess abilities once thought to be reserved for humans. Related Content: Discoblog: Pocket-Sized RoboClam Could Anchor An Oil Rig Discoblog: Sea Section: Shark Bites Shark & 4 Babies Pop Out Discoblog: Dolphins “Play Ball” With Jellyfish (As in, Jellyfish Is the Ball)

Video: Museum Victoria

1 free article left
Want More? Get unlimited access for as low as $1.99/month
Already a subscriber? Log In or Register
1 free articleSubscribe
Want unlimited access?

Subscribe today and save 70%

Subscribe

Already a subscriber? Log In or Register
More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Join
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

 
Subscribe
To The Magazine

Save up to 70% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2021 Kalmbach Media Co.