Octopus experiment ?

squidward

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#1
Hi. I'm a new member to this board and I was hoping someone could help me with some ideas for a brown octopus experiment. I am currently enrolled at South Hampton Long Island University in N.Y. and I am working on a lab experiment project with the octopus. The two experiments I am attempting to replicate are the glass jar lid removal for food and the shock/food reward for recognition of black and white disks. Any suggestions on how to effectively replicate the experiments would be greatly appreciated. By the way the octopus is in a 40 gallon tank by himself and his mantle size is approximately one inch.
Rich
 

tonmo

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#2
Welcome Squidward! You have your own smiley... :squidwar:

I'm doubtful you'll get much support here for a shock test.... Richard Ellis wrote about one such experiment in his book Monsters of the Sea where such an experiment ended with the octopus uncontrollably biting itself to death, after just a minor shock. In short, it really freaked it out. I won't pass judgement though; I have no idea what your methodology might be here... I'll just say that there might be better (more rewarding for both you and the octopus) ways to focus your scientific energies!

As for jars, here's a thread from February re: press release for such an experiment done at the time:

[News]: Octopus opens jars with food in experiment

The following off-site link may be helpful as well:

Behavioural Aspects in Marine Invertebrates
 

squidward

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#3
Thanks for the help. I was not aware that a mild shock would cause that much damage. Now that I am informed I will not continue with that portion of the experiment.
 

tonmo

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#4
I'm not sure it would absolutely happen, but it seems it could, according to what I read, anyway. But yeah, I bet folks here will have ALL KINDS of ideas for (non-negative-enforcement) experiments to do with your octopus... Myself included... I know I've thought about it many times, but here on the spot I can't remember any...

Also, I should correct myself... I said it "uncontrollably" bit itself to death, but I guess we can't know whether it did it purposefully or uncontrollably, can we? But otherwise, that's an accurate description of the passage in Ellis' book...

Anyway, good luck with your work, and definitely keep us informed of what you do, and what you learn! :grad:
 

Steve O'Shea

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#5
Somewhere on site we also discussed whether octopus were right- or left-handed. That would be an interesting aspect of behavioural research. Having excluded the shock treatment aspect of research, perhaps you'd like to expand on the above?
O
 

o.vulgaris

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#6
Steve O'Shea said:
Somewhere on site we also discussed whether octopus were right- or left-handed. That would be an interesting aspect of behavioural research. Having excluded the shock treatment aspect of research, perhaps you'd like to expand on the above?
O
good idea, I alway's wonder whether my octo is lefty or not?
 

Jean

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#7
Also there are a whole buncj of behaviour type experimants you could try like shape recognition, pattern recognition etc Which would involve finding a favourite food and then seeing if the octi can recognise shapes/patterns by initially putting the food behuind one shape/pattern eg square box or lateral stripes etc until it gets used to it, then introducing a variety INCLUDING the trained stimuli and seeing if the octi can recognise it as where the food is! Then you caould try swapping where the food is and see how long it takes the octi to figure it out!

Another thing you could do is can an octi learn by observation? Once trained to take the food from a ceratin shape/pattern switch but let the octi see what you're doing..........will it go for the container it's been trained to go for or will it go for the box it SAW you put the food into!

Cheers

J
 

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