Watch This Octopus Engage Fight Mode and Bag a Crab Supper

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Written by Sharon Parry

Published: November 22, 2023

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Brains Does an Octopus Have
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Octopuses can be very determined when they are hungry. This extraordinary clip shows a coconut octopus tackling a crab on the ocean floor. We know the octopus has engaged in fight mode from its dark coloration. Cleverly, the octopus uses its arm suckers to restrain the crab from behind. This stops it from being able to defend itself using its pinchers. Then, the predator uses its beak to inject a paralyzing poison into the small space between the crab’s main shell and back legs. The octopus knows precisely where this space is!

After a few minutes, the crab cannot move and gets dragged back to the coconut shell the octopus uses as its home. The octopus uses its beak to tear off the crab’s legs. It also injects digestive enzymes into the crab’s flesh to liquidize it so that it can be sucked out. By the next day, only the crab’s shell remains!

Amazing Coconut Octopus Facts

Veined octopus coming out of its shell

The veined octopus uses coconut shells to protect itself from sediment while resting.

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The coconut octopus is one of over 300 species of octopus alive today. Their scientific name is Amphioctopus marginatus, and they are a member of the Amphioctopus genus. Here are five fantastic coconut octopus facts:

  1. The coconut octopus gets its name from its habit of living in coconut shells. However, it is also sometimes called the veined octopus.
  2. The species is commonly found throughout the tropical Pacific and Indian Oceans. They can be spotted from Australia to South Africa and India.
  3. Coconut octopuses weigh between 7 and 9 ounces and are just a few inches across. They have white and blue colored suckers on their arms.
  4. Octopuses stay on the ocean floor and live at depths of around 600 feet.
  5. They are carnivores and eat fish, shrimp, and crustaceans in the sand and crevices.

How Do Octopuses Change Color?

Octopuses are the masters of disguise. They can rapidly change their color and shape to blend in with their environment. The chosen color also gives us an idea of how they are feeling and what they are doing! They can do this because they have thousands of special cells called chromatophores just under the surface of their skin. Each of these cells has a tiny sack filled with a colored pigment. The octopus can make the sacs more or less prominent by stretching and squeezing them. The more prominent sacs are the ones that give the color at any given time.


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About the Author

Dr Sharon Parry is a writer at A-Z animals where her primary focus is on dogs, animal behavior, and research. Sharon holds a PhD from Leeds University, UK which she earned in 1998 and has been working as a science writer for the last 15 years. A resident of Wales, UK, Sharon loves taking care of her spaniel named Dexter and hiking around coastlines and mountains.

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