Octo-punch: Octopuses willing to deliver a blow


Researchers have spied octopuses punching fish.
You read that right. The eight-armed cephalopods – considered one of the smartest marine animals – have been observed punching other fish in the head.
It appears that a punch is a way for an octopus to display its displeasure, according to a story on the website livescience.com.
Scientists have known for decades that octopuses sometimes team up with other fish to find food. Working together allows them to cover a larger area.
But a displeased octopus will use “a swift, explosive motion with one arm” to deliver a blow that looks a lot like a human punch, scientists wrote in a new study.
Octopuses and fish will work for more than an hour together, scouting different locations. But researchers in Israel and Egypt observed octopuses punching their partners.
“I laughed out loud, and almost choked on my own regulator,” said lead study author Eduardo Sampaio, a Ph.D. student at the University of Lisbon and the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior.
The temporary alliances seem to be self-serving for both parties. A punch to a fish could be a way of knocking aside competition or controlling the partner’s behavior. In some cases, researchers said it was not clear what the benefit was to an octopus punching a fish.