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Color Coded Signaling in Octopus

Color Coded Signaling in Octopus

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Saturday, January 30, 2016/Categories: natural history, video, marine life, art and design, environment

            Some behaviors and actions of Octopus tetricus during interactions (credit: Current Biology)

Octopuses use a color-coded system to signal to other octopus. The research in Jervis Bay, Australia is the first to document use of designated signaling among octopus.

Marine investigators, reporting in Current Biology, show that the shape-shifting marine creatures use skin patterns and body postures to signal to each other during interactions. The octopus use a wide range of displays during encounters and these correlate with the outcome of those interactions. Dark body colors when displayed by an approaching octopus was matched by similar body tones in the reacting octopus. This color was were more likely to escalate into a dispute. The behaviorial meaning of other display colors and body patterns is still unknown.

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