COCONUT OCTOPUS or VEINED OCTOPUS (Amphioctopus marginatus) ©NG Richard.
Amphioctopus marginatus, also known as the coconut octopus and veined octopus, is a medium-sized cephalopod belonging to the genus Amphioctopus. It is found in the sandy tropical waters of the western Pacific Ocean. It commonly preys upon shrimp, crabs, and clams, and displays unusual behaviour, including bipedal walking and gathering and using coconut shells and seashells for shelter.
Researchers from the Melbourne Museum in Australia observed the creature’s use of tools for defense, and the use of available debris to create a defensive fortress. As their sandy-floored location does not provide rocky crevices to hide in, the octopus creates it’s own protection. The discovery of this behavior, observed in Bali and North Sulawesi in Indonesia between 1998 and 2008, was published in the journal Current Biology in December 2009.
The researchers filmed A. marginatus collecting coconut shells, (discarded by humans), from the sea floor, carried them up to 20 meters (66 ft) away, and arranged the shells to form a hiding place akin to a clamshell. Although other species use foreign objects as shelter, the sophisticated behavior of A. marginatus is that they select materials, carry and reassemble them, which is far more complex.
By the researchers’ definition of a tool as “an object carried or maintained for future use,” the behavior of A. marginatus is the first documented case of tool use in invertebrates. While the hermit crab re-uses a shell A. marginatus collects shells for future use, so when the octopus is transporting the shell, it is not getting protection from the shell. The researchers considered this highly unusual behavior.
Fact source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amphioctopus_marginatus
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