I thought I knew what an octopus was...
Gloomy octopus. P/C John Turnbull.
... they're the ultimate shape-shifter with an amazing ability to solve puzzles, slip through tiny holes, and possessed of a fascinating kind of intelligence. I've watched them for hours while scuba diving, and I have to admit--they're probably my favorite undersea animal. (Full disclosure: they're SO interesting that I can't eat them any longer--it would be like eating a very smart pet house cat.)
But my understanding of them was as a shell-less mollusk. Their bodies are as close to fluid as you can imagine--they flow rather than walk. Even so, as they move across the ocean floor, they seem to move as an ensemble, rather than just as a single animal. That's NOT what I think of as an octopus. This video of a mimic octopus moving around, shifting shapes and colors--that's an octopus.
But when I was talking with a scuba-diving friend, they mentioned that there's a kind of octopus that actually DOES have a shell. This claim, naturally, leads to today's Challenges--one about the surprising octopus, and the woman who did the first serious research on this remarkable beast.
1. Is my friend right? Is there an octopus that has a shell? Really?
2. As I read more, I learned a couple of fascinating details about the life of this particular octopus. Can you find two really unexpected things about this animal?
3. Who was the woman who first did serious research on this octopus? What essential piece of research gear did she invent?
I love Challenges like this. It's not hard to find the answer, but once you know, it's hard to stop from reading more about this particular octopus and about the researcher who understood more than anyone else. Trust me, there are many more than 2 "fascinating details" about this very surprising octopus.
Let us know what you've found by leaving a comment here. Enjoy the SearchResearch!