From Nature this morning: Researchers studied a series of photographs taken by Bob Hulse, an amateur photographer, of orange-back squid jumping out of the water.
Because they knew the intervals of time between each photo, O’Dor and his colleagues were able to estimate the squid’s velocity and acceleration, and compare them with these values for squid in water. They found that the velocity in air while the squid were propelling themselves with the water jet was five times faster than than any measurements O’Dor had made for comparable squid species in water.
“It makes perfect sense that these species are using flight as a way of saving energy,” says O’Dor.
Next: the squid learn to aim.
Lucas Brouwers! First you blog about coelacanths, now you talk about historical octopi? You are ascending the echeladder of my favorite bloggers to hit the rarely achieved rung, TentaTanglebuddy.
This is the story Lucas has for us:
Henry Lee (1826-1888) adored octopuses. As the resident naturalist at the Brighton aquarium he wrote regular columns about these creatures, which he bundled in the short but delightful book “The Octopus”. Lee shared his fascination for all things tentacles with the Victorian gentry. In the chapter ‘Octopods I have Known’ he describes how the aquarium’s public had grown bored with the exotic fish that had been on display for so long. In those days, in the words of Henry Lee, “an aquarium without an octopus was like a plum-pudding without plums”. So when the Brighton aquarium obtained its first octopus in October 1872, the public rejoiced.
“The new octopus became “the rage.” Visitors jostled each other, and waited their turn to obtain a peep at him – often a tantalizing exercise of patience, for the picturesque rock-work in the tanks provided so many hiding places, that the popular favourite only occasionally condescended to show himself.”
“[It] became necessary to clean out a tank in which were some “Nurse-hounds”, or “Larger spotted dog-fishes”, Scyllium stellare. No hostility between them and the octopus being anticipated by their attendant, they were temporarily placed with it, and, for a while, they seemed to dwell together as peaceably as a ‘happy family’ of animals.”
A predator and prey, in one happy family. Splendid!
“But one fatal day – the 7th of January, 1873 – the “devil-fish” was missing, and it was seen that one of the “companions of his solitude” was inordinately distended. A thrill of horror ran through the corridors. There was suspicion of crime and dire disaster. The corpulent nurse-hound was taken into custody, lynched and disembowelled, and his guilt made manifest. For there, within his capacious stomach, unmutilated and entire, lay the poor octopus who had delighted thousands during the Christmas holidays. It had been swallowed whole, and very recently, but life was extinct.”
1. Can we talk about how there is a chapter titled ‘Octopodes I have known.’
2. Like a plum-pudding without plums, AS TRUE TODAY AS WHEN IT WAS WRITTEN.