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  • This octopus is making a quick escapewith the help of its suckers.

  • The suckers are incredibly strong.

  • And while we only have two hands to grab things, an octopus holds on with hundreds of suckers

  • running up and down each arm.

  • Suckers come in pretty handy to get around.

  • Or to grab a bite to eat.

  • Or to hang onto your keeper’s arm.

  • So how do suckers stick so well?

  • It’s not super glue.

  • It’s water pressure.

  • Each sucker has a ring called an infundibulum.

  • It creates a water-tight seal.

  • Inside the sucker there’s a chamber, like a cup, called the acetabulum.

  • It’s full of water.

  • When the octopus expands the chamber, it lowers the pressure inside.

  • The higher pressure outside pushes against the sucker creating a powerful grip.

  • Suckers get such a workout that their skin sloughs off every few weeks.

  • See that ring-shaped piece of skin floating by?

  • It used to be the bottom of a sucker.

  • Suckers have another super-power.

  • They actually can smell and taste.

  • That helps the octopus tell there’s no snail inside this shell.

  • Hundreds of suckers tasting and smelling, and flexible arms moving every which way,

  • create a huge amount of information -- a lot for the octopuscentral brain to process.

  • So each arm has a mind of its own.

  • In fact, two thirds of an octopusneurons are in its arms.

  • That means the central brain isn’t really calling all the shots.

  • The central brain tells the arms how fast to move.

  • But the instructions on how to reach come from each arm.

  • It’s a nifty way to process all that information, making the octopus

  • the well-choreographed creature we know.

  • AMY: Hi.

  • This is Amy Standen.

  • You may have noticed a different voice on Deep Look today.

  • My good friend and fellow science reporter Lauren Sommer is taking over for me as host

  • of the series.

  • LAUREN: Thanks, Amy.

  • I'm excited to be here.

  • If you like cephalopods, check out our episode on squid skin.

  • And if you miss Amy’s voice, listen to her podcastThe Leap,” at the link below.

  • See you next time.

This octopus is making a quick escapewith the help of its suckers.

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B2 US octopus sucker lauren chamber skin central

If Your Hands Could Smell, You’d Be an Octopus | Deep Look

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    annie posted on 2017/07/04
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