MONDAY Friday Cephalopod: Let’s play

Hot tip for cephalopod fans: the February 2007 issue of Natural History magazine includes a very good article on octopus intelligence and personality.

Enteroctopus dofleini and Lego™

Mather JA (2007) Eight arms, with attitude. Natural History 116(1):30-36.


  1. says

    You know, something that doesn’t take so much muscle power to click together might be more popular… how about those almost-closed chain links designed for babies? And what about bottle-and-clothespin type toys? “Now I drop it in, now I dump it out…”

  2. SEF says

    something that doesn’t take so much muscle power to click together might be more popular

    There’s a baby version of lego which has much larger blocks with looser fitting. I think that’s what the octopus which made itself an underwater fort type play structure used (many years ago now).

  3. Morfydd says

    It also has a deeply creepy article about whip spiders. Neat stuff. I should have joined the Seattle Science Center years ago.

    Was I the only kid who was nervous opening my Ranger Rick magazines because I’d always get surprised by some full-page photo of a spider?

  4. Steff Z says

    The giant Pacific octopus (the sp. in the photo) is probably plenty strong to snap regular-sized Legos together, or apart. The arms are SOLID MUSCLE (except for the thin covering of skin); the suction cups are numerous and independently-operable and powered by, well, more muscle.

    A GPO at the Seattle Aquarium could open child-proof pill bottles — the kind you have to push down on, and then turn, to open.

    The GPO’s on display right now sometimes get their food served to them inside a Mr. Potato Head. The octopus can taste the clam goo (etc.) dripping out of the plastic body. The octos *easily* figure out how to open the back hatch.
    (See the “outtakes” to _Toy Story 2_ for a demo of that Mr. Potato Head rear hatch.)
    The procudure works better now that the Aquarists have attached the Mr. Potato Head eyes and nose and feet and things with monofilament fishing line. Before that, the octo-feeders had to fish those small parts out of the tank individually after the octo finally lost interest and let go of them.

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