Australia’s (semi)terrestrial octopus

July 25, 2017 • 2:30 pm

This new video, from Attenborough’s BBC Earth series, shows an octopus taking to land to hunt animals in tide pools. As usual, it’s a really nice clip, but is lacking one bit of information.

The YouTube notes say this: “This extraordinary species found in Northern Australia is like no other Octopus, and land is no obstacle when hunting for Crabs.”

What is the species?

27 thoughts on “Australia’s (semi)terrestrial octopus

  1. Amazing. Fascinating. And a little frightening.

    When they come slithering out of Pugent Sound, I, for one, will welcome our cephalopod overlords. What other choice would we have? Otherwise we’re doomed.

    Doomed, I tell you.

  2. Watching that gorgeous creature slink up out of the waters, the following sprange to my mind: “For Cthulhu so loved the world that he sent his only begotten son…” 😏

    [sub (I’m dying to know the species)]

    1. Damned auto-correct! I meant Abdopus aculeatus!

      Maybe it does get a little upset from time to time though…?

  3. I was googling for a few minutes…there are lots of videos, photos, blogs, scientist’s commentary etc., but not one mention of the specific species. Apparently there are a few species that walk on land.

  4. That’s some dyn-o-mite photography. I’m guessing liberties may have been taken in the editing to enhance verisimilitude?

    1. Two things caught my attention. The sounds supposedly made by the animal seem dubbed in and at one point, the suckers adhere to something flat and transparent in front of the camera. Part of the camera or panels to direct the animal’s movement?

      Odds are more than one octopus contributed to the footage and the crab was betrayed by the photographers who put it in harm’s way.

      Fascinating locomotion.

    2. I am compelled to think of shooting and editing issues. A few shots were likely taken in a tank with suitable background rocks and coral. The progress of our main protagonist from start to delectable finish are very likely assembled from clips taken in a different order. The music is added to build dramatic thrust. I hope the children are already in bed.

  5. If we continue to poison and heat up the ocean enough to kill off sea life the octopi depend on to survive, what other option do they have but to try the land? Next, they’ll be migrating off planet.

  6. mrclaw69 [comment 6] is correct. Another YouTube BBC channel shows the same clip, “The amazing Octopus that can walk on dry land – The Hunt: Episode 6 Preview – BBC One” here: /watch?v=TFzpC_e44Tg & reports it as being Abdopus aculeatus [or algae octopus]

    It is one of two octopus species capable of bipedal locomotion [in water!] – the other one being Amphioctopus marginatus [coconut octopus or veined octopus]:

  7. I found it interesting how they employed thriller/horror film language in the cinematography of this clip. Clever, and effective.

    1. Yes, if it had been in B&W, it could be a trailer for a 50s horror B movie. Just tinker with the perspective and add a screaming voluptuous lady in a bikini instead of the crab. Attack of the Killer Octopus

  8. If i was standing next to a rock pool and one of them started to climb out i would either wet myself or run away ,or wet myself as i was running away .
    Does Doc Myers over at Pharyngula know about this critter ?.

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