Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Octopus Uses Two Arms To 'Walk Away' From Trouble

Date:
March 28, 2005
Source:
National Science Foundation
Summary:
A diving trip always reveals amazing undersea creatures, but in 2000, while helping a film crew in the waters off an Indonesian island, a University of California, Berkeley, biologist did a double take when she saw an octopus walk by on two arms! Further exploration of tropical waters revealed that at least two octopus species can raise six of their arms and walk backward on the remaining two.

Octopus aculeatus, which camoflauges itself by resembling algae, uses two of its eight arms for walking.
Credit: Christine L. Huffard, University of California, Berkeley

A diving trip always reveals amazing undersea creatures, but in 2000, while helping a film crew in the waters off an Indonesian island, a University of California, Berkeley, biologist did a double take when she saw an octopus walk by on two arms! Further exploration of tropical waters revealed that at least two octopus species can raise six of their arms and walk backward on the remaining two.

Crissy Huffard, Robert Full and Farnis Barneka report this first scientific documentation of underwater "bipedal" locomotion of any animal in the March 25 issue of the journal Science.

Ordinarily, an octopus changes both its color and shape to evade predation. But when they use the familiar water propulsion to move quickly, they cannot maintain their stealth appearance. The authors postulate the two-armed behavior allows the octopus to slowly walk away from a predator while preserving its existing camouflage.

Robert Full, an animal locomotion expert, is supported through the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Frontiers in Biological Research (FIBR) Program. Full postulates that sophisticated movements in animals are not under the control of the central nervous system. Rather, he asserts that reflexes or local nerve signals control these movements. In the case of the walking octopuses, groups of nerve cells in each arm control this sophisticated “fight-or-flight” motion.

While Crissy Huffard’s graduate work centers on the behavior of an Indonesian octopus, she recognized that her observations of the walking octopuses might help answer a different scientific question: how exactly do these animals move? This question connected her to Full, whose work emphasizes that the material properties of moving appendages strongly influence the mechanics of movement.

“One of the goals of the FIBR Program is to support the training of students who are fearless in working across disciplinary boundaries. This is an excellent case in point,” said Chris Greer, who manages the program for NSF. “Students like Crissy Huffard, who are willing and able to work across scientific boundaries, are a powerful force for removing perceived disciplinary barriers.”

Because octopuses lack bones, they do not have fixed hinges like the knees and ankles humans require for motion.Thus, they control water pressure in their soft appendages in ways that, while unknown, create remarkably complex movements. Full and Huffard continue to study this form of movement. The conclusions of the work will be extended to robotic theory, allowing the team to explore solutions for robot movement across varied or rough terrain.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Science Foundation. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

National Science Foundation. "Octopus Uses Two Arms To 'Walk Away' From Trouble." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 March 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/03/050325153006.htm>.
National Science Foundation. (2005, March 28). Octopus Uses Two Arms To 'Walk Away' From Trouble. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/03/050325153006.htm
National Science Foundation. "Octopus Uses Two Arms To 'Walk Away' From Trouble." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/03/050325153006.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) A new study published by the World Wide Fund for Nature found that more than half of the world's wildlife population has declined since 1970. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dolphins Might Use Earth's Magnetic Field As A GPS

Dolphins Might Use Earth's Magnetic Field As A GPS

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) A study released Monday suggests dolphins might be able to sense the Earth's magnetic field and possibly use it as a means of navigation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How To Battle Stink Bug Season

How To Battle Stink Bug Season

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) Homeowners in 33 states grapple with stink bugs moving indoors at this time of year. Here are a few tips to avoid stink bug infestations. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
California University Designs Sustainable Winery

California University Designs Sustainable Winery

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 27, 2014) Amid California's worst drought in decades, scientists at UC Davis design a sustainable winery that includes a water recycling system. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins