Octopus are Great!


"At the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass., there's a room filled with burbling aquariums. A lot of them have lids weighed down with big rocks.

"Octopuses are notorious for being able to, kind of, escape out of their enclosures," says Bret Grasse, whose official title at MBL is "manager of cephalopod operations" — cephalopods being squid, cuttlefish and octopuses.

He's part of a team that's trying to figure out the best ways to raise these sea creatures in captivity, so that scientists can investigate their genes and learn the secrets of their strange, almost alien ways.

For decades, much of the basic research in biology has focused on just a few, well-studied model organisms like mice, fruit flies, worms and zebrafish.

That's because these critters are easy to keep in the laboratory, and scientists have worked out how to routinely alter their genes, leading to all kinds of insights into behavior, diseases and possible treatments."  NPR


As  a baldy oldy, I watch a lot of documentary TeeVee.  "Curiosity Stream" is a hell of a learning instrument.   I have learned a lot about my Norman ancestors there.  My mother in law (who lived with us for ten years) was confident that I was a member of the oppressor class.  If ancestry tells you anything she was right.

Cephalopods have become an interest.   I started out with the red Humboldt squid in the Gulf of California.  These were well documented for a while (to include their rapacious hunger).  They are called "El Diablo Rojo" by the local fishermen.  They now seem to have disappeared from that body of water.  Where they have gone is a mystery.

I then moved on to the Giant Squid (archeteuthis).  They were until recently invisible as living specimens, lots of dead, rotting Giant Squid but not live ones.  But a few years ago a Japanese scientist had the dream of his life fulfilled when a living one approached the submersible he rode and just hung about for a while posing for snaps.

There is supposedly something something called the Colossal Squid (the Kraken?) but we don't have pics of those as yet.

Octopus are very special creatures.  They are incredibly smart.  I was in a lab once looking at a two footer in a clear sided tank.  It sat there on the bottom in the sand inspecting me in return.  I slowly waved one hand back and forth in a foot long arc.  It blinked and then repeated the gesture.

I do not eat octopus.  pl



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16 Responses to Octopus are Great!

  1. Offtrail says:

    As ever, SST rewards attention.

  2. turcopolier says:

    gurglebalh! (Octopus for “get lost.”)

  3. Miles ahead of you this site is. Octopi are everywhere!

  4. Especially important factoids for those of you who worry about NATO and the EU are these essays https://zapatopi.net/belgium/

  5. walrus says:

    I have watched a mimic octopus sixty feet down in Bitung Strait, Sulawesi. We know so little about the oceans.

  6. The wildest thing I read about octopus lately are their ability to edit their RNA. No one knows how they do it. Is it a conscious decision or just a response to environmental stimuli?
    “Octopuses and squid have confirmed their reputation as Earth-bound “aliens” with the discovery that they can edit their own genetic instructions.Unlike other animals, cephalopods – the family that includes octopuses, squid and cuttlefish – do not obey the commands of their DNA to the letter. Instead, they sometimes interfere with the code as it is being carried by a molecular “messenger”. This has the effect of diversifying the proteins their cells can produce, leading to some interesting variations. The system may have produced a special kind of evolution based on RNA editing rather than DNA mutations and could be responsible for the complex behaviour and high intelligence seen in cephalopods, some scientists believe.”

  7. John Minnerath says:

    We used to swim with octopus using scuba off the coast of Okinawa.
    It was great and they’d seem to enjoy following us around.

  8. walrus says:

    ‘The Octopus’
    Tell me, O Octopus, I begs,
    Is those things arms, or is they legs?
    I marvel at thee, Octopus
    If I were thou, I’d call me Us.
    Ogden Nash
    A favourite of mine.

  9. begob says:

    Haven’t you gurgled about octopuses in the past? Last time, I think I responded with this link to Blue Planet, where the shark gets outwitted: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-UCJ7PPN84

  10. Far from being non-existent Belgium is a shining example to us all. It ran itself without any politicians to speak of for 589 days. Must have been bliss.

  11. rjj says:

    Flatfish also camouflage.
    BUT BUT BUT – how do flatfish know what they look like when their eyes are on top of their head and there are no reflecting surfaces in deep waters. Also because visual systems and lighting conditions vary wouldn’t the patterning appear different to different creatures.
    Same goes for octopus – Their distributed brain enables pattern matching but how does it sense the pattern to be matched by extended tentacles with only a single eye in middle of head and no neck.
    People, with/without clothing, in/out of water, find it impossible to detect the appearance of what they sitting/lying on without looking, therefore it can’t be done. SO how do these lower organism types do it???

  12. turcopolier says:

    begob – gluugglerer – (yes)

  13. Barbara Ann says:

    My guess is this is why one does not need a manager of mice/fruit fly/worm/zebrafish operations, but one does need a manager of cephalopod operations:

  14. joanna says:

    ex-PFC Chuck, I found your links helpful. Strictly only the first and third. Energyskeptic was helpful beyond the glimpses Amazon offers.
    Take care be well.

  15. JJackson says:

    I recently came across an interesting epi-genetics experiment in which lab mice (who had come from a long line of inbreed lab mice) were repeatedly introduced to the scent of cherry blossom and given a small electric shock. They then shook with fear at just the smell. Sperm from these mice was then used to impregnate mice that had never smelt cherry blossom but the offspring displayed the fear reaction to the smell despite never having had a shock. The male mice must of modified their germline DNA.

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