High-Speed Cameras Capture Insane Octopus Hunting Techniques

by Tia Bailey

A new video showcases octopus’ wild hunting techniques. The high-speed cameras captured the techniques beautifully as part of a study.

A new study for Current Biology was conducted. Trevor Wardill, an assistant professor in the College of Biological Sciences, was on the team that ran the study. According to the research brief, “Wardill and colleagues investigated whether octopuses preferred certain arms over others when hunting, rather than using each arm equally.”

“Normally when you look at an octopus for a short while, nothing is repeatable. They squirm around and just look weird in their exploratory movements,” Wardill said.

The team studied the two-spot octopus from California, which grow to a max size of about the size of a tennis ball. They also live up to two years.

The team dropped different kinds of prey into the tank with the creatures, such as crabs and shrimp. The octopuses then attacked. Each prey needed a different hunting technique.

According to the research brief, “The researchers found: 

  • Octopuses used arms on the same side as the eye viewing the prey. 
  • No matter what type of prey came by, each octopus attacked using the second arm from the middle.
  • When hunting crabs, octopuses pounced on the prey with a cat-like movement, leading with the second arm. 
  • When hunting shrimp, the octopuses were more careful to avoid spooking the prey. They led with the second arm and after it made contact with the shrimp, they used neighboring arms one and three to secure it.”

“Octopuses are extremely strong. For them, to grasp and open a door is trivial, given their dexterity. If we can learn from octopuses, then we can apply that to making an underwater vehicle or soft robot application,” Wardill said. 

The video of the octopuses hunting is a crazy watch.

Octopus Breaks Decades-Old Record

Recently, an angler in Hawaii brought in a huge octopus. The creature weighed in at 25.95 pounds. This broke the previous record that was set two decades before, but there’s a twist — the original record was set by the angler’s brother.

Michael Matsunaga caught the creature on August 30, and not without difficulty.

“He has eight legs. I get two arms,” Michael told Hawaii News Now. “I kind of put him in the cooler. But he tried to get out everything. I finally got him in the cooler, and then I had to sit on the cooler because he was kind of lifting [the top] up.”

The man’s brother, Stewart Matsunaga, broke the old record back in 2000 with a 19-pound octopus.

Michael “made several gyotaku prints of the tako and eventually plans to eat it,” according to the publication.

“Just boil it in beer probably one leg at a time,” Matsunaga said.