It has been observed that female octopuses throw silt, shells and algae at males during unwanted mating attempts.
Photographs of octopuses off the coast of Australia revealed that these eight-legged animals “use the siphon arms, web, and jets of siphon water in a coordinated manner, causing material to be forcibly projected through the siphon. A column of water, sometimes hitting other octopuses.”
Researchers from Australia, the United States and Canada studied videos of octopuses in the wild and found that females in general were more likely than males to throw things away.
In one case, in December 2016, a single female octopus released a substance 10 times, five of which hit a male in a nearby den, with which scientists say several times tried to mate.
The female’s ten throws were all or part clay throws. In one hit, the female’s preparatory movements included a turn toward the male, taking the male directly into the launch path.
Pre-printed research article titled “In the line of fire: wreckage thrown by wild octopuses”He noted: “This sequence is also notable for the behaviors of the male who was the obvious target of the strikes.
“In four cases, the male crouched during the actual ejaculation, and over the course of the sequence these movements occurred earlier in relation to the ejaculation. In the first two cases, the target stooped after firing; in the last two, he squatted before the throw, during the pitcher’s preparatory movements.”
In other cases, the researchers found that other octopuses raised their arms toward the jug but did not bend. Sometimes fish were beaten instead of octopuses.
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It was not observed that infected octopuses “respond with fire” and throw sticky or shells back.
Throwing is not a common behavior in animals, although chimpanzees, capuchins, elephants, mongooses, and birds have been known to do so. Throwing-related actions have also been observed in other animal species, such as spiders throwing pesky hairs and archer fish throwing water.
Throwing is generally considered a specifically human act, which has played an important role in our evolution.
But the researchers say: “Throwing octopuses with stuff is common, at least in the location described here.”
These throws are made by collecting materials, holding them with the arms, and then expelling them under pressure.
“Strength is not given by weapons, as in human firing, but weapons regulate the process of dropping materials by plane.”
They concluded that octopuses could be “perpetually added to the short list of animals that regularly throw or push objects, and temporarily to the shorter list of those that direct their throws at other animals,” adding: “If they do target them, these staves target members of the same population in social interactions, and it is the least common form of non-human display.”
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