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Modern Mysteries

Freshwater octopus to blame for lake deaths?

By T.K. Randall
December 23, 2013 · Comment icon 29 comments



Could something be lurking below ? Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Eistreter
An undiscovered species of octopus could be lurking in the depths of Oklahoma's otherwise tranquil lakes.
A spate of unexplained drowning deaths in Lake Thunderbird, Lake Tenkiller and Lake Oolagah in Oklahoma has lead some to theorize that there could be something lurking beneath the waters that we don't yet know about.

The most popular (and controversial) theory is that the culprit is a new species of octopus that has developed the ability to live in fresh water. The so-called "Oklahoma Octopus" was even featured on an episode of Animal Planetís "Lost Tapes" series and is believed to drown its victims by dragging them below the surface using its powerful arms.
The feasibility of such a creature remains however heavily in doubt and despite the widespread success of the octopus as a species, no cephalopod has ever managed to transition entirely to a freshwater environment.

Skeptics argue that a large catfish, as oppose to an octopus, is most likely to be responsible for the mysterious deaths occurring in the lakes, but as with many such mysteries it is unlikely that we can ever entirely rule out the possibility that an unknown cephalopod could be lurking in the depths, waiting patiently for a hapless swimmer to pass overhead.

Source: Yahoo! News | Comments (29)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #20 Posted by keninsc 10 years ago
Little reality check: first there are no known freshwater cephalopods that I am aware of. Second this would have to be a large animal to drag down a human, at least a human that can swim reasonably well. A competent diver can overcome the Pacific Giant Octopus, the largest known species. Then the way octopi reproduce is to lay hundreds or perhaps thousands of eggs, guarded by the female; she generally dies upon their hatching. So, you should have a large, dead female octopus showing up on the shore on occasion. And even the young of the giant squid start life smaller than your thumb, so baby o... [More]
Comment icon #21 Posted by davros of skaro 10 years ago
Fresh water Octopus to me is fried Calamari with a cup of icewater, and a squeeze of Lemon.
Comment icon #22 Posted by davros of skaro 10 years ago
You see...this right here is why I don't swim in lakes, I've seen enough of those huge European catfish attacks to not risk this kind of encounter, actually in truth lakes have always freaked me out... I had a Fish try to engulf my big toe once.It did not have any teeth, and I did not see it.I got freaked, and shook it off.I figured it must have thought my toe was a fat Maggot.I sure would hate to have a Snapping Turtle bite anything on me.
Comment icon #23 Posted by Sundew 10 years ago
The Pacific Northwest tree octopus (Octopus paxarbolis) can be found in the temperate rainforests of the Olympic Peninsula on the west coast of North America. Their habitat lies on the Eastern side of the Olympic mountain range, adjacent to Hood Canal. These solitary cephalopods reach an average size (measured from arm-tip to mantle-tip,) of 30-33 cm. Unlike most other cephalopods, tree octopuses are amphibious, spending only their early life and the period of their mating season in their ancestral aquatic environment. Because of the moistness of the rainforests and specialized skin adaptation... [More]
Comment icon #24 Posted by Mr. Smith 10 years ago
I'm more floored that we have a land-adapted air-breathing octopuss than a freshwater adaptation.
Comment icon #25 Posted by RedSquirrel 10 years ago
The Pacific Northwest tree octopus (Octopus paxarbolis) can be found in the temperate rainforests of the Olympic Peninsula on the west coast of North America. Their habitat lies on the Eastern side of the Olympic mountain range, adjacent to Hood Canal. These solitary cephalopods reach an average size (measured from arm-tip to mantle-tip,) of 30-33 cm. Unlike most other cephalopods, tree octopuses are amphibious, spending only their early life and the period of their mating season in their ancestral aquatic environment. Because of the moistness of the rainforests and specialized skin adaptation... [More]
Comment icon #26 Posted by qxcontinuum 10 years ago
the cat fish can grow up to 5 meters in europe . They can be very ferocious predators not on;y bottom feeders. Every fisherman knows that!
Comment icon #27 Posted by joc 10 years ago
the cat fish can grow up to 5 meters in europe . They can be very ferocious predators not on;y bottom feeders. Every fisherman knows that! Yep. And if one is swimming along and grabs your foot...dude...you are going down.
Comment icon #28 Posted by Sakari 10 years ago
the cat fish can grow up to 5 meters in europe . They can be very ferocious predators not on;y bottom feeders. Every fisherman knows that! Yep. And if one is swimming along and grabs your foot...dude...you are going down.
Comment icon #29 Posted by Taun 10 years ago
Who then, would actually go 'swimming' in a lake like that? Sounds...nasty. I will tell you this much...I grew up in lakes around North East and East Texas...we learned to ski, we learned to swim, we didn't have any 'pools' so...we swam in lakes...But Now..you couldn't pay me to swim in a lake around here or anywhere else. There are no Fresh Water Octopus species...but there are a LOT of alligators in the lakes and rivers...there wasn't when I was a kid. I remember just a few years ago...an eight foot alligator was caught by someone fishing in City Lake Park in McKinney, TX...a tiny lake with ... [More]


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