Apparently, Octopus Get Their Kicks Punching Small Fish

Image Credit: Pixabay

I had heard before how intelligent octopuses are, that they’re great at solving problems and generally trouble to keep around. That said, it wasn’t until I saw Finding Dory that it really sank in.

Now, scientists are telling us that not only are they smart, they’re kind of the bullies of the sea, too.

Image Credit: Pexels

This new study, published in Ecology, found that octopuses and different species of fish can make agreements to hunt for food together, so that they cover a wider search area. T

he octopuses in their study, which lived in the Red Sea, would establish control of their cohort by striking (or punching) them to move them into a preferred position, to stop them from eating the prey, or to stop them doing what they were doing.

Researchers describe it as a “swift, explosive motion with one arm,” so even though they don’t technically have fists, it sounds like a punch to me.

They witnessed fish like a tailspot squirrelfish, blacktip fish, lyretail fish, groupers, yellow-saddle fish, Red Sea goatfish, and half-spotted hind fish all take one to the jaw during the observation period, and while most of the smacks served a purpose, a few seemed random.

Those are the abusers, I guess. They probably blamed the little fish for getting itself smacked.

Most of the punches were used to keep the littler fish in line, or in a punitive way, should they take a bite of food without sharing.

These fish, I suppose, are only learning what I have deduced without having to be punched by a tentacle – that really, it’s best not to upset an octopus.

You know. If you can avoid it.