Female Octopuses Throw Things At Males That Harrass Them
New research has revealed that female octopuses throw sand, shells and algae at males during unwanted mating attempts.
Since 2015, University of Sydney researchers have been studying octopuses in Jervis Bay on New South Wales‘ south coast, and they have recently discovered that female octopuses, known as hens, would toss shells and silt at other octopuses.
Previously, octopuses have been recorded spitting and hurling debris at each other, which could indicate they are attempting to use weapons. In one incident in December 2016, a single female octopus flung material ten times, five of which hit a male in a nearby cave who had been seeking to mate with her multiple times, according to the scientists. It was even documented that sometimes fish were occasionally hit instead of octopuses.
However, researchers have said that throwing is common among octopuses: ‘The throwing of material by wild octopuses is common, at least at the site described here. These throws are achieved by gathering material and holding it in the arms, then expelling it under pressure.’
They added, as per The Independent: ‘Force is not imparted by the arms, as in a human throw, but the arms organize the projection of material by the jet.’
Researches came to the realisation that octopuses can ‘definitely be added to the shortlist of animals who regularly throw or propel objects, and provisionally added to the shorter list of those who direct their throws on other animals’.
‘If they are indeed targeted, these throws are directed at individuals of the same population in social interactions – the least common form of nonhuman throwing’.
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