Indonesian Octopuses Getting Crafty With Coconut Shells

Posted on December 16th, 2009 at 1:15 pm by Akhyari


Indonesian and Australian researchers have observed veined octopuses off the coast of Indonesia using discarded coconut shells as disguises and protection.

The researchers, who reported their findings in the Dec. 15 edition of the Current Biology journal, said that the use of the tools by the octopuses was surprising.

“We were blown away,” biologist Mark Norman told National Geographic News. “It was hard not to laugh underwater and flood your [scuba] mask.”

The team, led by biologist Julian Finn of Museum Victoria in Melbourne, was observing 20 veined octopuses (Amphioctopus marginatus) on a regular basis.

The researchers noticed that the animals were frequently using their tentacles to carry coconut shells that were bigger than their bodies. An octopus would dig up the two halves of a coconut shell, then use them as a protective shield when stopping in exposed areas or resting in sediment.

The team also noticed that the octopuses, after using the coconut shells, would arrange them below the centers of their bodies and carry them around, appearing to “walk” awkwardly using their tentacles.

“To date, invertebrates have generally been regarded as lacking the cognitive abilities to engage in such sophisticated behaviors,” the biologists wrote in the journal, according to Wired Science. “The discovery of this octopus tiptoeing across the sea ?oor with its prized coconut shells suggests that even marine invertebrates engage in behaviors that we once thought the preserve of humans.”

A video of the octopuses in action can be viewed at the Current Biology Web site. (

Popularity: 1% [?]

Share this Good News!
  • Print
  • Digg
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google Bookmarks
  • email
  • Reddit
  • Technorati
  • Twitter
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Tumblr
  • LinkedIn
  • MySpace