Study Finds That Female Octopuses Intentionally Throw Debris at Males Who Harass Them

Scientists have discovered that female octopuses will deliberately hurl shells and other debris at males they feel are harassing them.

A new study suggests octopuses intentionally ‘throw’ shells and silt at each other, the first time such behaviour has been reported.

The study, which was conducted by a team at the University of Sydney, used footage taken of a large consortium of wild gloomy octopuses at “Octopolis” in Jervis Bay, New South Wales. They closely analyzed the results and noticed this very interesting turn of events. While not all the cases were female versus male, a large percentage of this specific behavior was observed being propagated by females.

The team, led by Peter Godfrey-Smith at the University of Sydney, analysed underwater footage of Sydney octopuses interacting at a site in Jervis Bay dubbed ‘Octopolis’. They found found 66% of throws were performed by females, often at males that are harassing them. –

Female Octopus Thrown Debris on Harasser
Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.