Rocky tide pools are separated from each other during the low tide, making it impossible for marine creatures to escape… except for the Abdopus Octopus. In episode 6 of The Hunt, Sir David Attenborough introduces this small Northern Australian species, known for its ability to move from pool to pool, hunting for trapped fish and crustaceans. Have you ever seen how an octopus walks on land?
Some context from Julian Finn, a senior curator of marine invertebrates at the Museum Victoria in Australia, and James Wood, a marine biologist and curator of The Cephalopod Page, via Scientific American:
“‘Crawling along out of water is not uncommon for species of octopus that live in the intertidal or near shore,’ Finn says. Wood has seen several different species of octopuses getting around this way in the course of his research. As he points out, however, most species of octopuses are nocturnal, so we humans are less likely to catch them creeping out of the ocean.”
“Why would an octopus struggle across land, when its boneless body seems so unfit for moving out of water? For the chance to find some tasty shellfish and snails, most likely. When the tide goes down, ‘many octopus species emerge to hunt in the pools of water left behind by the receding tide,’ Finn notes.”
In this Museums Victoria clip, Finn gives us another peek at the walking Abdopus aculeatus:
Also not to be missed: The unusual locomotion of a boneless, 600-lb octopus.