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Bizarre Fighting Octopuses Cause a Stir in Australia

posted: 09/01/15
by: Discovery.com Staff
Jarvis Bay octopus scuffle
Peter Godfrey-Smith (CUNY and University of Sydney), David Scheel (Alaska Pacific University), Stefan Linquist (University of Guelph) and Matthew Lawrence

Darling, it's better down where it's wetter -- unless you're an octopus in Australia's Jarvis Bay.

NPR reports that a rogue group of cantankerous cephalopods seems to have taken up arms against each other. Biologists have observed the creatures "wrestling" and treating one another less than kindly:


"A particular group of them have started living in higher concentrations than usual, which we think is because of some peculiarities of the site where they live," City University of New York biologist Peter Godfrey-Smith told NPR's Arun Rath.

"There seems to be a lot of fairly ornery behavior which has to do with policing and guarding territory," he added.

What's more, the octopuses seem to have stated throwing shells at each other, a development that Godfrey-Smith calls "quite significant." The following clip shows the octopus on the right hurling a shell toward his neighbor -- although the alleged act of aggression is mostly obscured by a cloud of sand:


According to Godrey-Smith, the use of projectile weapons is fairly uncommon throughout the animal kingdom.

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