Feb. 19, 2016: Biological Sciences Seminar Series: ‘The social life of octopuses – signals before battle at Octopolis’

February 11, 2016

Friday, Feb. 19, 3:30-4:30 p.m.
ConocoPhillips Integrated Science Building, Room 120

Dr. David Scheel, APU Environmental Sciences, presents “The social life of octopuses – signals before battle at Octopolis.”

Most octopuses are regarded as solitary and asocial. Until now, behavioral ecologists have focused on the remarkable ways that octopuses are able to camouflage or use rapid color changes to escape predators. This study is the first to show octopuses using color and posture to signal to each other during disputes. The postures and patterns can be quite flashy, such as standing very tall, raising the body mantle high above the eyes and turning very dark. The researchers examined frequent pair-wise interactions of a shallow-water Australian octopus, Octopus tetricus, at an extended midden where this species occurs in high density. Most interactions were of low intensity and did not involve contact. Interactions in which dark body color by the approaching octopus was matched by dark body color by the reacting octopus were more likely to escalate to grappling behavior. Dark body color by the approaching octopus that was met by paler color in the reacting octopus accompanied retreat of the
paler octopus. Octopuses also displayed on high ground, stood with spread web and arms, and elevated their mantles, with these behaviors often seen in combinations. All of these emphasize apparent body size. These behaviors suggest that interactions have a greater influence on octopus evolution than has commonly been recognized.

About the seminar series:
UAA hosts an active program for Biological Sciences seminars. All seminars are held in the ConocoPhillips Integrated Sciences Building on Fridays at 3:30 p.m. in room 120 of the ConocoPhillips Integrated Science Building, unless noted otherwise. Our seminar series is free and open to the public. Parking at UAA is complimentary on Fridays. Please call (907) 786-1298 for directions or insert this address (3101 Science Circle, Anchorage, AK 99508) for map directions.

View the complete seminar series schedule at the UAA Biological Sciences website.

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