Specifically, the Octopus aimed at a fish and hit it with an explosive movement. These blows targeted different species of fish, suggesting that this behavior plays an important role. When an octopus hits a fish, it exerts a small amount of energy while making it difficult to hunt an individual fish. Octopuses throw punches at fish and it could be out of spite, scientists say.
Marine biologists filmed these interactions in the Red Sea, but they have also been captured elsewhere. Scientists also recorded events where it was not immediately clear how the octopus benefited from hitting the fish. One possibility could be that these negative acts, while harmful to fish, ultimately cost the octopus less energy than cooperation. Punches could also be a punishment, so fish would be a better partner in future collaborations, Samapio said.
But these explanations are speculative, and Sampaio will have to see many more octopus against. Octopuses and fish team up to chase their prey, but they may not always get along, research suggests. Whether the octopus takes a punch to protect against food theft or to reprimand a successful thief, octopuses are the octopus's way of protecting its prey. If the octopus fails and instead scares the fish out of hiding, the grouper may have a second chance to eat the lost food.
According to octopus scientist Eduardo Sampaio (who compiled the images of the octopus punches of the day), when the octopus delivers a punch after its food was stolen, the octopus hit may be penalizing a successful thief. This bullish behavior has been captured on camera by researchers who observe interactions between octopus and several species of fish in the Red Sea. Overall, more research is needed to understand this recently documented phenomenon of octopus engaging in aggressive behavior with their fish co-conspirators. It could be that the octopus was using violence to keep fish in line and servile for future foraging excursions.
The images were not taken in concert with the studio, but you can see that the octopus has none of that. Like most octopuses, this day the octopus lives a solitary life, it only gathers with other octopuses to reproduce. The day the octopus was caught on film hitting six other fish species, including the useful lyre grouper. While the punch requires a little effort on the part of the octopus, it can literally move the squirrelfish out of the way of the octopus.
In the study, which comes through Gizmodo, scientists say that octopus they hunt in collaboration with fish will hit them for several reasons. Some of the underwater shots seemed to confer benefits on the aggressor, such as having unrestricted access to food, but Sampaio also points out that there were cases in which hitting a nearby fish did not seem to provide the octopus with any apparent advantage. Thanks to the animal's long arms, even well-hidden creatures can be in danger of becoming this octopus's breakfast. The punch can sometimes serve a purpose by moving the fish to a point where it loses the immediate opportunity to catch prey.
For this to be the case, the daytime octopus needs to appreciate the future, an indication of intelligence.