Scientists capture octopus PUNCHING fish, apparently out of SPITE, in bizarre VIDEO
Marine biologist Eduardo Sampaio from the University of Lisbon in Portugal shared stunning video purporting to show the ornery octopuses taking their frustrations out on their fishing partners.
Octopuses punch fishes. YES. OCTOPUSES. PUNCH. FISHES!! Our new paper is out on @ESAEcology, showing that octos express this behavior during collaborative hunting with other fishes. This was probably the most fun I had writing a paper. Ever! (small 🧵)https://t.co/Vwg9BoaSUopic.twitter.com/PIYuVXpM9t— Eduardo Sampaio (@OctoEduardo) December 18, 2020
Not wanting to pick sides in the deep sea dust-ups, in their recently published paper, Sampaio and his fellow researchers refer to the barbarous behavior as “active displacement” of fish.
The Octopus cyanea teams up with a variety of fish species in the Red Sea, including squirrelfish and lyretails, to chase, and trap prey. The fish will often corral their finned compatriots, at which point the octopus will deliver a deft knockout punch and the feeding frenzy can begin.
Octopuses and fishes are known to hunt together, taking advantage of the other's morphology and hunting strategy. Since multiple partners join, this creates a complex network where investment and pay-off can be unbalanced, giving rise to partner control mechanisms. @SimonGinginspic.twitter.com/MEyyaIZaxO— Eduardo Sampaio (@OctoEduardo) December 18, 2020
“[T]he octopus performs a swift, explosive motion with one arm directed at a specific fish partner, which we refer to as punching,” the researchers write.
However, in an apparent vulgar display of power, the octopuses were observed on occasion exerting dominance over their fishing partners mid-hunt, or mid-feast, by striking them.Also on rt.com The invisible man? Scientists engineer human cells to become TRANSPARENT like squids
The scientists posit it may be a rather cruel means of discipling or motivating their hunting partners, either deterring them from prey or rather forcefully altering formation to improve the haul at the end of the hunt.
In addition, they witnessed several hangers-on hoping to feast on the rewards from the hunt without expending any effort who were subject to ferocious corporal punishment.
We have seen octopus in the Pacific Ocean boxing reef fish during the @globalfinprint project. This one is from Palau, but observed in other locations as well. They look to be guarding the bait bag (which one is holding on to). @LeanneMCurrey@aims_gov_au@firstname.lastname@example.org/TzkKEKz21A— Colin Simpfendorfer (@SharkColin) December 20, 2020
However, there were some random strikes thrown that didn’t immediately appear to be practical in purpose, and may just have been out of pure spite.
“In these cases, two different theoretical scenarios are possible. In the first one, benefits are disregarded entirely by the octopus, and punching is a spiteful behaviour, used to impose a cost on the fish,” the researchers write.
“In the other theoretical scenario, punching may be a form of aggression with delayed benefits (i.e. direct negative reciprocity or punishment), where the octopus pays a small cost to impose a heavier one on the misbehaving partner, in an effort to promote collaborative behaviour in the following interactions.”Also on rt.com Deep-sea dining: Octopods filmed FEASTING on dead whale carcass (VIDEO, PHOTOS)
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