Happy Octopus Day from MLML: Eight-armed babies and fish octo-snacks

One for the octopus baby album! (photo: S. Ainsley)

Erin Loury

by Erin Loury, Icthyology Lab

Put your tentacles up – it’s Cephalopod Awareness Days 2010, everyone!  Fellow marine scientist blogger Danna Staff (a cephalopod enthusiast and newly-minted Ph.D. from Hopkins Marine Station) is hosting this week’s festivities at her Cephalopodiatrist blog.  I figured it would be fitting to celebrate October 8th, Octopus Day, MLML-style with a tale of two Erins and their eight-armed encounters.

The first is a repost about Erin Jensen’s octopuses. Erin defended her thesis in April, titled “The Effects of Environmental Enrichment and Problem-Solving on the Brain and Behavior of Octopus rubescens.”  While she spent most of her time stumping octopuses with mazes and food puzzles, and subsequently dissecting their brains, she also moonlighted in octopus husbandry – or at least, attempted to.  When one of her octopus test subjects wiggled its way out usefulness in her experiment by promptly laying eggs, Erin realized there was little she  could do but enjoy just how goshdarn cute they were. While none of the babies survived past a few days, we did get some video of them doing their bouncy thing – check out the full post here.

And then there’s me, the second Erin.  We in the fish community can appreciate cephalopods as much as anyone.  Even fish love cephalopods – they make great snacks!  Here’s a photo straight from the gopher rockfish gut files, aka my thesis on gopher rockfish diet.  Though true octopus lovers may shed a tear at this assortment of consumed critters, consider that an animal’s ecological role is also worthy of celebration.  So here’s to a tasty link in the food chain!


Delicious and nutritious: little octopods from the guts of gopher rockfish. (photo: E. Loury)


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1 Response to Happy Octopus Day from MLML: Eight-armed babies and fish octo-snacks

  1. Danna Staaf says:

    Sooo cute! It’s amazing how similar those little guys look to my baby squid. Planktonic cephalopod larvae are all alike. (But each benthic cephalopod larva is benthic in its own way.)


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