Science & Tech

Octopus has a 'nightmare' in amazing footage captured by scientists

Octopus has a 'nightmare' in amazing footage captured by scientists
The Rockefeller University/YouTube

Rare footage of an octopus having a 'nightmare' has been captured and it is fascinating scientists who study the creatures.

The footage comes courtesy of The Rockefeller University in New York where an octopus named 'Costello' was studied for 24 hours a day in a laboratory.

In papers published by bioRxiv, they found that on at least four occasions the octopus woke up abruptly and began flailing its tentacles, changing colour, shooting black ink into the water and displaying "antipredator and predatory behaviors."

The experts put this behaviour down to temporary stress which they believe was likely caused by a bad dream or even a memory from a previous traumatic moment.

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Speaking to LiveScience, Eric Angel Ramos, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Vermont said: "It was really bizarre because it looked like he was in pain; it looked like he might have been suffering, for a moment. And then he just got up like nothing had happened, and he resumed his day as normal."

Compilation of the four abnormal sleep-associated episodes documented in a male Octopus

One thing the scientists did note is that when Costello arrived in the lab he appeared to be recovering from several severe injuries having lost the majority of two of his tentacles following an attack.

When suggesting that Costello could have been dreaming about the attack the scientists noted: "can result in long-term behavioral and neural hypersensitivity."

There has also been suggestions from Robyn Crook an associate professor of biology at San Francisco State University, who was not involved in the study, that Costello's behaviour could be down to something called senescence, which is when an octopus' body begins to break down before their death.

Ramos concluded that he could not "exclude that senescence could be one of the drivers of this."

This is not the first time footage of this nature has been captured. Back in 2019, PBS shared incredible footage of an octopus changing colour while it appeared to be dreaming.

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