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Natural World

Octopus is filmed punching a fish in the face

December 26, 2020 | Comment icon 7 comments

Octopuses can be hard to get along with. Image Credit: PD - Pseudopanax
Octopuses and fish sometimes work together to find food, but this unlikely alliance doesn't always work out.
It might seem like the unlikeliest of partnerships - but on multiple occasions scientists have observed these eight-legged cephalopods working together with fish to hunt for prey on the ocean floor.

Like many partnerships however, they don't always see eye to eye.

In a new study, researchers have highlighted observations of octopuses literally punching their fish partners in the face when they become disillusioned with how things are going.

Between 2018 and 2019, a total of 8 different incidents were recorded off the coasts of Israel and Egypt involving an octopus lashing out at a fish that it had partnered up with.
"I laughed out loud, and almost choked on my own regulator," said lead study author Eduardo Sampaio from the University of Lisbon.

"The fish would get pushed to the edge of the group, or would actually leave the group. Sometimes after a while it would return, other times it would not return at all."

"The octopus would leave the fish alone after displacing it."

"Despite collaborating, each partner will always try to maximize its benefits. In the cases where prey is readily available, the octopus seems to use 'punching' as a way to control the partner's behavior in a self-serving way."

Source: Live Science | Comments (7)

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Picturesque Orion 1 year ago
Punching out of spite = Antisocial Active Displacement   Love it!    
Comment icon #2 Posted by susieice 1 year ago
From link:   An eight armed bully   While we can't yet know for sure why octopuses are randomly punching fish like this, at least one of the theoretical explanations given suggests octopuses may have some serious attitude.  
Comment icon #3 Posted by Kismit 1 year ago
I like the idea of an octopus being the equivalent of the old man on the porch waiving a stick at people.    Get off my lawn!!!!
Comment icon #4 Posted by DebDandelion 1 year ago
Social distancing in action... 
Comment icon #5 Posted by Stiff 1 year ago
Sucker punch?
Comment icon #6 Posted by jethrofloyd 1 year ago
He punches better than James Bond in a movie Octopussy.  
Comment icon #7 Posted by Brandy333 1 year ago
Sounds like there are bullies everywhere, even in the marine world.

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