SCUBA News 194,

Welcome to SCUBA News. Thanks for subscribing. This month we've an article by Maggie Martin on the intelligent octopus. Plus spectacular diving in Papua New Guinea

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- The most intelligent invertebrate - what can the octopus do?
- Diving news from around the World

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What's New at SCUBA Travel?

Papua New Guinea shrimp

Diving Papua New Guinea

The diving here is spectacular - with waters jam-packed full of fish. Expect walls, reefs and wrecks at this remote location.
Read More…

Diving Lanzarote

Diving Lanzarote

Warm water, loads of marine life due to nutrient-rich upwellings from the Canary current, what's not to like about diving Lanzarote?
Read More…

Bali Dive Operators

Bali Dive Operators

Diving highlights of Bali include Tulamben's awesome Liberty wreck, the reef manta rays of Nusa Penida and the fascinating macro marine life Seraya Secrets. Choose a Bali dive centre from our reviews
Read More…


Getting to Egypt from Saudi by Boat

I heard of a speedboat that can people from Ynabu or Duba in Saudi to Egypt (Hurghada). Do you know how can I contact them?
Thank you

Ned Sam

Can you help Ned? E-mail with any advice.

The most intelligent invertebrate - what can the octopus do?

by Maggie Martin

The octopus is believed to be the most intelligent of all invertebrates. As well as its relatively large brain, each of the octopus’ eight arms has its own rudimentary intelligence. This allows the arms to function independently. Researchers think that the octopus evolved intelligence to help it hunt and elude predators.


In the wild, octopuses collect and manipulate objects. For example, octopuses have been observed arranging stones around the entrance to their dens. One octopus was captured on video using two coconut hulls as a makeshift suit of armour, holding the shells around itself and rolling along on the sea-floor like a ball. This has been construed as evidence of tool use.

All octopuses can imitate their environment. The mimic octopus can also imitate other sea creatures, such as the predatory sea snake or a fish-eating sea anemone; this helps deter predators and also allows the octopus to get close to its own prey by mimicking a less dangerous creature.

Laboratory experiment reveals that octopuses can recognise different patterns, open jars, and containers, and can solve fairly complex puzzles. One puzzle involved three transparent boxes that could be locked with a simple catch. Food was placed in the smallest box this was then placed inside another box, which was then shut inside the third box Some octopuses were able to unlock, open and remove the boxes until they obtained the crab.

In another experiment, octopuses were able to remove the lids of childproof pill-bottles containing food items; one octopus was later observed playing with an empty bottle, moving it around her tank with jets of water.

Octopuses are also reported to recognise individual humans, choosing to “shake hands” with preferred individuals while squirting ink or water at others.

About Maggie Martin

Maggie Martin is completing her PhD in Cell Biology and works as a lab tech for You can follow her on Twitter @MaggieBiosource.

Diving News From Around the World

Our round up of the more interesting underwater news stories of the past month. For breaking news see our Twitter page or RSS feed

Whale shark

Whale sharks added to endangered species list

Whale sharks and slender hammerheads are nearer extinction due to human actions.

Personal care products still polluting oceans with microbeads despite company promises

Personal care products "still polluting oceans with microbeads despite company promises"

A ranking of the world's 30 largest personal care companies shows that big brands are failing to remove microplastics from their products.

Divers could be used to measure ocean temperatures

Divers could be used to measure ocean temperatures

Decompression computers worn by recreational and commercial divers provides accurate data, study shows. Upload your data to the citizen science site.

Great White Shark

South Africa's great white sharks facing extinction

A six year study of the country's coastal waters concluded that only 350 to 500 great white sharks remain, half the level previously thought. Trophy hunting, pollution, shark nets and baited hooks are among reasons for decline.

Tiger Shark

Queensland setting catch limits for endangered sharks based on dodgy data

Experts calls for reinstatement of observer program as commercial shark catches jump dramatically on Great Barrier Reef

Bleached reef

'Zombie corals' pose new threat to world's reefs

Scientists discover corals that look healthy but cannot reproduce, dashing hopes such reefs could repopulate bleached areas

Farmed fish

Farmed fish drive sea change in global consumption

The world is eating more fish now than ever - with farmed, rather than wild-caught, animals driving the increase in recent decades. Still sustainability problem for wild-caught fish.

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