Hopkins Marine Station Student Paper

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(full paper is archived in the Miller Library)

Title: Behavior and body patterning in Octopus rubescens
Student Author(s): Strickler, Katherine
Faculty Advisor(s): Baxter, Chuck
Pages: 27
Location: Final Papers Biology 175H
Date: June 1987
Keywords: biology of cephalopods
Abstract: To study how the species organizes its time, space, and social structure in a semi-natural situation, a group of six Octopus rubescens were kept in a 5m diameter tank for one month. Observations were made of the win-loss record of each animal in interactions with other members of the group, the time spent by each animal in the different areas of the tank, and the various color patterns displayed by the animals in different situations. A pattern of dominance based on size emerged in which larger animals won encounters with smaller animals. The establishment and defense of a territory by at least one individual in the group suggests territoriality for the species. several color patterns were seen that did not fit previously published reports of typical patterns in the species, and imply that the literature on body patterning in octopuses is neither complete nor absolute.