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The bird kraken: octopus preys on a sea bird at an oceanic island in the tropical West Atlantic

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 February 2009

Ivan Sazima*
Affiliation:
Departamento de Zoologia e Museu de História Natural, Caixa Postal 6109, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, 13083-970 Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil
Lisandro Bastos de Almeida
Affiliation:
ONG Oceânica–Pesquisa, Educação e Conservação, Rua Luis Bernardo e Silva, 10, Praia do Cotovelo, 59150-000 Parnamirim, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil
*
Correspondence should be addressed to: Ivan Sazima, Departamento de Zoologia e Museu de História Natural, Caixa Postal 6109, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, 13083-970 Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil email: isazima@unicamp.br
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Abstract

The legendary kraken, a giant cephalopod that emerged from the depths to attack ships and devour the sailors is reincarnated here in a miniature version. We describe an oceanic island-dwelling octopus (Octopus sp.nov.) preying on a sea bird, the brown noddy (Anous stolidus) in the tropical West Atlantic. While poised on a tide pool rim the bird was quickly seized by one or two of the octopus's arms and dragged underwater, where the octopus was lying in ambush. We suggest that this prey type hunting occurs occasionally, even if rarely documented. Catching birds may have originated from ambushing mobile and relatively large animals such as Sally Lightfoot crabs (Grapsus grapsus), one prey of octopuses hunting in tide pools at oceanic islands in the tropical West Atlantic.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 2006

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