It is a rare case in which an animal behaves aggressively towards members of its own species: this is why it happens
HE wild octopuses They are solitary creatures that do not like close contact with other animals, even their own species. In fact, observing octopus communities in Australian coastal waters, we have seen how the females of the species throw shells, algae, silt and sand at the male specimens that are invading their “living space” by getting closer than necessary.
In other words, females defend themselves against the proximity of the opposite sex and every object within reach of their tentacles can be transformed into a weapon to throw at disturbers. The observation was made at a site in Jervis Bay, Australia, by a team of researchers from Australia, the United States and Canada.
The researchers witnessed a large number of object throwing by octopuses, and in almost all cases it was female octopuses who made the throw. During the observation period Up to 90 releases of female octopuses and only 11 of male octopuses were recorded. (a 9 to 1 ratio for females): In all cases, the thrown object was first caught with the tentacle and then thrown with force.
It is not uncommon for animals to throw objects to catch their prey or as a defensive strategy. In most cases where animals exhibit this behavior, they throw objects at other species (more dangerous or less dangerous than themselves) – from the center not against one’s own peers.
Precisely this anomalous behavior exhibited by octopuses aroused the curiosity of scientists, who wanted to investigate why these marine animals (particularly females) adopted aggressive behaviors towards their own species.
Using hidden cameras placed underwater, researchers were able to closely observe the dynamics of the launches and the motivations behind them. It has been seen that animals use their siphon (a type of “nozzle” through which water is expelled) to initiate a powerful jet of water capable of pushing the object to be thrown very far from the body.
The camera recordings showed two types of launch: The first was aimed at expelling debris from the lair to keep it cozy; the second was aimed at attacking its own kind. In the second case, females most often threw objects at other females who were too close or at males who were too “insistent” with their courtship rituals.
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Source: PLOS One
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