Wild Wunderpus photogenicus and Octopus cyanea employ asphyxiating ‘constricting’ in interactions wi


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Sep 4, 2006
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Wild Wunderpus photogenicus and Octopus cyanea employ asphyxiating ‘constricting’ in interactions with other octopuses
Christine L. Huffard (@mucktopus), Mike Bartick 2014 (subscription)

Mucktopus has mentioned and provided TONMO with prior images of a female cyanea enveloping and consuming a male. I suspect this became part of the information in this paper.

Aggressive constricting including asphyxiation was observed in wild octopuses (Octopus cyanea Gray, 1849, and Wunderpus photogenicus Hochberg, Norman & Finn, 200616. Hochberg, F.G., Norman, M.D. & Finn, J. (2006) Wunderpus photogenicus n. gen. and sp., a new Octopus from the shallow waters of the Indo-Malayan Archipelago (Cephalopoda: Octopodidae). Molluscan Research 26, 128–140.
[Web of Science ®]
View all references). The distal portion of a dorsolateral arm formed a loop around the mantle of another octopus, in at least one case preventing the flow of water into the mantle, over the gills and out of the funnel. Constricting also may have prevented the subordinate individual from releasing ink, a possible irritant and predator attractant. A female O. cyanea used constricting as a form of fatal aggression to asphyxiate a male as part of apparent sexual cannibalism. This female killed a male with which she was mating using the ‘distance’ position. Constriction allowed a W. photogenicus to win during physical interspecific aggression with a close relative, Thaumoctopus mimicus Norman & Hochberg, 200532. Norman, M.D. & Hochberg, F.G. (2005) The ‘Mimic Octopus’ (Thaumoctopus mimicus n. gen. et. sp.), a new octopus from the tropical Indo-West Pacific (Cephalopoda: Octopodidae). Molluscan Research 25, 57–70.

View all references. This action took place near an immediately available food source and interrupted foraging by T. mimicus, providing possible evidence of interference competition among closely related sympatric cephalopod species in the wild.
The female first held the male's funnel closed preventing him from exhaling (and inhaling), and then wrapped her arm around his mantle opening, preventing inhaling. This strangled ("constricted") the male, he turned white/stopped moving, and then she pulled him to her, under the web and carried him off to what we presume was her den. I can try to put together a quick page with other images from the sequence to show what happened.

Here's an awesome video I came across on Youtube showing what happens when two octopuses (also O. cyanea) are each within constricting reach of each others' mantle (especially from 1:30 on):
AMAZING behavior.

Tony and D- I've sent you the paper. If anyone else would like it, PM me with your email address and I'll send you a pdf reprint. I'm not able to post here though (copyright issues)...soon hope to get around to posting the accepted manuscript...
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THANKS for the pdf @mucktopus I have not had time to read it but will before the weekend is over.

Amazing video. I am glad you asked for a conclusion.

Nick Hope also posted a clip from his Andaman series with two cyanea fighting or having a territorial dispute but the short clip shows more of an attempt to bring the smaller animal under the webbing than the strangulation technique (there is a quick view of an arm out stretched that may suggest the intent to strangle though).

Are these Octopus cyanea fighting or courting?
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