Octopus outsmarts a prawn
The Pacific striped octopus stalks its prey, then taps it from behind so that the prey animal dart into its arms. Just a few inches across, the octopus is found on the Pacific coast of Central America. Video by Roy Caldwell video, UC Berkeley, via Live Science.
Meanwhile, Scientific American reports on the untangling of the elusive octopus genome, which scientists hope will lead to answers to the many questions about the animal's unique physiology, its ambiguity to camouflage itself, control and regenerate its eight flexible arms and thousands of suckers and how it came to be so incredibly intelligent.
With the largest-known genome in the invertebrate world—similar in size to that of a house cat (2.7 billion base pairs) and with more genes (33,000) than humans (20,000 to 25,000)—the octopus sequence has long been known to be large and confusing. Even without a genetic map, these animals and their cephalopod cousins (squids, cuttlefishes and nautiluses) have been common subjects for neurobiology and pharmacology research. But a sequence for this group of mollusks has been "sorely needed," says Annie Lindgren, a cephalopod researcher at Portland State University who was not involved in the new research. "Think about trying to assemble a puzzle, picture side down," she says of octopus research to date. "A genome gives us a picture to work with."