Octopuses are also… vindictive

Octopuses have been labeled as an animal that throws objects at other members of its species, an activity that humans are “especially good at,” especially when they’re angry.

Australian scientists have filmed for the first time how octopuses throw shells, sand, dirt, algae and everything they find in front of them at other annoying octopuses.

Octopuses are very intelligent and usually lead a solitary lifestyle. When the abundance of food and the favorable environment of the seabed bring together many individuals, friction arises between them, sometimes up to cannibalism, because they literally eat each other. Their irritation sometimes seems to be manifested in the fact that they throw objects captured by the front tentacles and “move” them with the help of the jets of water they release.

Researchers led by Professor Peter Godfrey-Smith of the University of Sydney, who published the corresponding publication in the scientific journal PLoS One, according to The New York Times, The Guardian and Nature, reported that throwing objects is a rarity in the animal kingdom (which is especially difficult to do under water). Octopuses are also quite aggressive.

Scientists observing a dozen octopuses using underwater static cameras saw that both males and females threw things, but more often the latter (by 66%, i.e. twice as often as males). In one case out of three (33%), the thrown object hit another octopus. The darker the octopus was, the more likely it was to show aggression and attack another octopus. In some cases, the octopus can throw objects sequentially, one after the other.

Throwing an object appears to be a deliberate action, though not always aimed at another octopus or fish. An octopus can simply clear the nest in which it will live, throwing stones, algae and other blocking the entrance out of the “mink” that it likes, in order to free up its personal space. In some cases, female octopuses have been observed throwing objects at males that they likely had… “evil intentions” towards. Scientists have also documented cases of female octopuses throwing objects at other female octopuses.

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