A new study on the octopus revealed that females will gather silt and shells to launch at an unwanted advance from males of the species. This study was written by biologist Peter Godfrey-Smith who observed the animals in 2015. There were 101 observed throws, in which 90% were done by females. In particular, there were two females responsible for 66%, indicating they’ve used this quite often for targeted throws against males.
What the report explains isn’t quite a throw as much as it is a projectile. The octopi use their tentacles to gather up the dirt, debris, and shells to launch at their target with a jet of water. Some males have anticipated this behavior, and catch the shells, but never reciprocate or throw it back. I wonder if this is some kind of “you don’t hit a woman” rule for octopi.
This observed behavior included females launching the projectile sometimes several body lengths away. It usually always occurred when a male was trying to mate with them and they did not want to.
Types of Throws
Octopus also throw things when they are cleaning house. They will gather all of the clutter and just chuck it out. I guess they have been practicing the Marie Kondo for long before us. All I can say is that I wish it was that easy for me, I’d love to just throw things out.
They have two different recorded methods of throwing things likely to indicate the type of intent behind them. In order to throw things out of the house they position it between their front two tentacles and chuck it. When throwing at a male they will use their left or right side tentacles and launch it in their direction.
If you’re interested in reading the new study, you can read it here.