23 May 2010

The fascinating biology of the Argonaut octopus


The video is silent, so you will need to read the text at Not Exactly Rocket Science for the complete story.  Here are the introductory paragraphs:
The argonauts are a group of octopuses unlike any other. The females secrete a thin, white, brittle shell called the paper nautilus. Nestled with their arms tucked inside this beautiful, translucent home, they drift through the open ocean while other octopus species crawl along the sea floor. The shell is often described as an egg-case, but octopus specialists Julian Finn and Mark Norman have discovered that it has another function – it’s an organic ballast tank...

An argonaut uses its shell to trap air from the surface and dives to a depth where the encased gas perfectly counteracts its own weight, allowing it to bob effortlessly without rising or sinking. Finn and Norman filmed and photographed live animals in the act of trapping their air bubbles, solving a mystery that has been debated for millennia...
Much more at the link, via Neatorama.

1 comment:

  1. exquisite! nature is phenomenal

    ReplyDelete

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