Body Orientation plays no role in Octopuses locomotion, can walk in any direction (+video)

During a recently conducted study, researchers have come to know that the movement of octopuses is simple and elegant, but not rhythmic.

Guy Levy, the lead author of the study, said that it’s a known fact that all the eight legs of an octopus are muscular, flexible and soft and act as if they have innumerable joints. However, to date scientists have had a hard time in determining the exact procedure adopted by these marine creatures for coordinating their intricate crawling movements.

Here, it must be mentioned that Levy happens to be a post-doctoral researcher of neurobiology; he is currently associated with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

For gathering more information about the locomotion of these brainy animals, researchers watched videos showcasing octopuses crawling around tanks filled with water. To ensure that even the minutest details are not missed, these experts watched the videos frame by frame.

Levy, when speaking about the experience he and his team had while watching the videos, said that quite expectedly the octopus surprised them. He added that when studying the videos, the team of researchers came across a series of unique features that are not found in other animals.

The researchers came to know that octopuses adopt unique strategies for coordinating their arms when crawling. These animals are basically bilateral symmetric; this means that the right side of their body is the mirror image of the left side. The majority of the bilateral symmetric creatures move facing forward; however, there are surely some exceptions, for instance crabs (they move sideways).

Octopuses are really unique; they can crawl in all directions relative to the orientation of their body. To put it otherwise, these marine creatures don’t need to turn their bodies for changing direction when moving.

They use any one of their arms for pushing off of the surface they are in and get propelled. The remaining arms are used for pushing the body; the direction changes automatically, when required.

During the study, scientists also came to know that octopuses move by elongating and shortening their arms; these actions actually help in creating a sturdy pushing thrust. Levy said that these creatures don’t need to bend or pull their arms for moving, which makes moving around an extremely simple task for them.

However, according to the researchers, one thing that’s a bit weird about the movements of octopus is that they don’t have any detectable rhythm. For those who don’t know: the majority of the animals maintain a rhythm when moving. For instance, humans, when walking, move their legs in the following order: left-right-left.

About the author

Nitin Agarwal

Nitin Agarwal

Nitin has a background in Electrical Engineering and is passionate about the Internet of Things. He covers how connected devices like smart homes, wearables, and industrial IoT are changing our daily lives. Nitin is also a DIY enthusiast and loves to build IoT gadgets.