Six Arms, Two Legs

The limbs of an octopus all look pretty much alike to us, but that doesn’t mean that they are all the same to their owner. Recent research at the Sea Life Centre in Brighton suggests that while the limbs can all be used interchangeably, the normal pattern of behavior fits a pattern of six arms and two legs. The researchers are also turning up other interesting aspects of these marvelous creatures:

Gerard conducted tests on Popeye, a Lesser Octopus at the Brighton centre.

“Octopuses do have very strong personalities. They do develop their own favourite toys,” he explained.

“My octopus hates the colour red — that’s quite a natural response in nature — but he particularly likes yellow. We’re starting to build a profile for different octopus,” Gerard added.

And during the tests, the octopuses got to play with some particularly challenging toys, namely Rubik’s Cubes — though none have managed to solve one yet.


Tentacles Galore

Ann and Jeff VanderMeer’s art column in io9 has a new feature on the utterly wonderful The Art of Lovecraft: Artists Inspired by Lovecraft, including a gallery of images from the book and interviews with luminaries such as Bob Eggleton, John Picacio and John Coulthart. On his own blog Jeff has added a few outtakes that didn’t quite make it into the io9 column. Tentacles everywhere. (And yes, it is Cephalopod Friday).

More Tentacle Porn

The phrase “tentacle porn” is one of the top searches by which people find this blog, so I try to keep using it. Fortunately I don’t need to come up with subjects myself. Over at Pharyngula, PZ Myers posts a picture of a new tentacled beauty every week. I try not to link to all of them, but this week’s is particularly spectacular. Nautilus.

Giant Squid Alert

Suddenly I have a reason to go to Paris. A 21 foot long giant squid has arrived in the French Museum of Natural History. And it is a real squid – caught off New Zealand, and with its innards “plastinated” to prevent it from decaying and ponging, and allowing it to be displayed outside of a formaldehyde-filled jar. The squid is called “Wheke”, which is short for “Te Wheke o Muturangi”. That’s not a Hurricanes war cry.

Tentacled Goodness

Via Jeff VanderMeer I discover that yesterday was International Cephalopod Awareness Day and I missed it. Waaaaaa!!!!!

Still, I can make up for it now. Jeff made two posts (here and here). You should also check out the giant octopus page at the very wonderful Monterey Bay Aquarium. And finally, something I discovered during my visit to Copenhagen for the Eurocon. Go here and check out the coat of arms. Does that not remind you of a Great Freshwater Squid rising from the waves? Clear evidence of squid worship amongst the ancient vikings, if you ask me.