Are octopuses partial to a certain tentacle?

July 7th, 2008 - 2:28 pm ICT by ANI  

London, July 7 (ANI): Scientists have planned a study to determine whether octopuses have a favourite tentacle for picking things up, much like humans are right- or left-handed.

Claire Little, a marine expert at the Weymouth Sea Life Centre, says that the month-long project at 23 Sea Life Centres across Britain and Europe will examine the intelligence of the octopus, which are believed to be far more intelligent than their relativesslugs and snails.

During the study, the researchers will give the 25 assorted creatures food and toys to play with, and record which limbs the animals use.

“Uniquely, octopuses have more than half their nerves in their arms and have been shown to partially think with their arms, Live Science quoted Claire as saying.

“Many animals have been shown to favour a certain arm so we will see if octopuses can be added to that list,” she said.

The researchers believe that their study may shed new light on the structure of octopus brains, just in case it indicates a preference.

They say that octopuses are susceptible to stress, and therefore finding whether they have a favoured side on which to be fed may help improve their well-being in captivity.

Whether the octopus uses a combination of arms will also be recorded in sequence.

The researchers would drop a ball, a jam jar, and Lego bricks into the water for the octopuses’ inspection.

The giant Pacific octopus, the common octopus and the lesser octopus will all star in the research.

The results of the research will be analysed by Sea Life Centre biologists, and announced in autumn.

“We hope it will help towards solving the mystery of handedness in the animal kingdom,” Claire said. (ANI)

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