A team of scientists, conducting research on a colony of octopuses from Australia, has discovered some astounding facts about the sea creatures. Based on their observations, the scientists have concluded that octopuses use body color for social purposes.
Professor Godfrey-Smith, a marine biologist, and David Scheel, from the University of Alaska, have concluded that the octopuses are capable of changing their color in order to signal their intent. Moreover, they are also capable of inflating their bodies, in order to appear more frightening in the face of potential aggressors.
Reviewing approximately 53 hours of footage, the two scientists have identified no less than 186 different stances, each of them playing a key role in the octopi’s social life.
Before this social study was conducted, scientists thought that octopi are solitary creatures. It was also thought that the octopi change color in order to fend off or to discourage antagonists.
But, according to the latest research, it would seem that the octopi actually signals its intent to perform a certain action when it is changing color. For example, if the octopi are aggressive, it will stand tall, spread his arms in a Nosferatu-like pose and change body tone into an oozing black.
Moreover, the researchers were able to catalog other poses. For example, if the octopi lost a fight to a much stronger opponent or it realizes that his antagonist is too strong, then it will display a pale color as it makes its way towards safety.
Godfrey-Smith made a few statement regarding this non-aggressive pose. The marine biologist declared that this pose comes in handy for the octopi if he detects a bigger opponent in the vicinity of its den. The pale color, along with the body pose, helps the fleeing octopi signal that it acknowledge that his aggressor is dangerous and that it will not do anything to provoke him.
From all the stances analyzed by the team, it would seem that the aggressive stance is by far the most impressive one. According to Godfrey-Smith, when an octopus detects the presence of a potential aggressor in its vicinity, it begins by assuming a tall stance. While assuming a fighting stance, the octopi will also turn black. Moreover, the octopi stance will also make him look bigger and frightening.
And to top it all up, the warrior octopi will also spread his darkened tentacle, thus assuming a pose very similar to the cape-wearing vampire from the 1920 horror flick.
In conclusion, the two scientists have discovered that octopuses use body color for social purposes. This new discovery also makes them rethink the idea that octopuses are solitary creatures.