In September 2015, we reported on the Southern Sand Octopus’s remarkable ability to burrow into the sand using jets of water to fluidise the sediment – essentially creating quicksand – that it can then dive into. This behaviour has never been reported before in octopuses, but may be more common than we think.
The octopus is also unique in its ability to form a sub-surface mucous-lined burrow under the sand, where it resides during the day.
This research was featured in the New Scientist, the Daily Telegraph, and other media outlets. You can view the New Scientist video below:
Peer-reviewed Journal Article
Montana, J., Finn, J.K. and Norman, M.D. (2015). ‘Liquid sand burrowing and mucus utilisation as novel adaptations to a structurally-simple environment in Octopus kaurna Stranks, 1990’. Behaviour. DOI: 10.1163/1568539X-00003313
This research was conducted as part of an Honours degree in Zoology at the University of Melbourne and the Melbourne Museum under the supervision of Dr Mark Norman and Dr Julian Finn. This research was covered by New Scientist and other media outlets.