These socktopuses throw a common – and random – octopus.
A new article published on Friday in the magazine “Ecology” found that octopuses punch fish – sometimes to ensure collaborative hunting, sometimes for just cause.
“OCTOPUSES. PUNCH. FISH !! ”Study co-author Eduardo Sampaio with enthusiasm tweeted publication of your research. “This was probably the most fun I had having fun writing an article. Ever!”
Octopuses and fish are known to hunt together, mutually benefiting from each other’s strengths – except when the tentacle ocean bandits decide to randomly throw their collaborators on the scale.
An octopus punch looks like “a quick, explosive movement with an arm aimed at a specific fish partner”, describes the newspaper – an act that costs octopuses little zeal. “[Actively] punching a fish partner entails a small energy cost for the actor (for example, octopus) ”, explain the authors.
The researchers recorded eight videos of octopus fighting fish between 2018 and 2019 in the Red Sea, involving a variety of victims, including squirrels, blacktip, lyretail, groupers, yellow-saddle and goatfishes.
While six of the fisticuff outbreaks may be linked to obvious octopus motives – including the healthy desire to “ensure collaboration” – two appear to be rampant acts of violence against fish. The researchers do not fully understand why octopuses sometimes have violent and purposeless episodes, but they believe it may simply be “spiteful behavior” or a form of “punishment”.
How much the fish are hurt by such explosions – physically and emotionally – is also beyond the knowledge of science.
“We never saw permanent marks or anything like that when we were punched, but we can’t say for sure whether the fish are injured or not. Of course, they don’t like it! ”Sampaio tweeted.
In addition to experiencing outbreaks of seemingly unnecessary aggression, octopuses are also similar to humans in giving hugs, dreaming, being negatively affected by climate change and preferring to hang in a group rather than relaxing alone with a Chewbacca doll when administered with molly.