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Octopuses Carry Coconut Shells to Use For Shelter Later

Humans are the only species to use tools. Wrong. Many creatures in the biological world out there have proven this statement wrong, but octopuses could be the first invertebrate to join the intellectual tool-using club.

Australian scientists Julian Finn and Mark Norman of Museum Victoria in Melbourne have discovered an octopus in Indonesia that collects coconut shells and carries them with it to be used as shelter later. The activity was observed in four creatures in a series of dives off of Indonesia that took place inbetween 1998 and 2008. The findings were published this week in the Current Biology journal.

It’s not strange that octopuses use shells for shelter; but this is the first time scientists have seen an invertebrate “plan” for shelter. The Amphioctopus marginatus, veined octopuses were observed collecting two halfs to coconut shells (which are commonly discarded in the ocean) off the ocean floor. They would then clean the shells, and carry the two halves with them, under their bodies, up to 65 feet away. The octopuses would then assemble the two halfs together and use it as a shelter.

The Amphioctopus marginatus is a small octopus species, with the body averaging about 3 inches (8cm) in size, and the length of the octopus with tentacles around 6 inches (15cm) long. These octopuses have also been observed exhibiting bipedal behavior where it wraps 6 of its tentacles around it’s body and rolls the last two on the ground surface in a similar motion to that of tank treads.

Now where can I get one?

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Cephalopoda
Order: Octopoda
Family: Octopodidae
Genus: Amphioctopus
Species: A. marginatus