PICTURES: Octopuses Carry Coconuts as Instant Hideaways

PICTURES: Octopuses Carry Coconuts as Instant Hideaways
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December 14, 2009--A veined octopus peers out of an empty coconut shell off Indonesia in an undated picture released today with a new study.

Strange as the coconut shelter may be, what really caught the researchers' attention was that veined octopuses carry the coconuts with them--tip-toeing with the shells suctioned to their undersides--before reassembling the halves for protection or deception. (Watch video of a coconut-carrying octopus in action.)

The coconut-carrying behavior makes the veined octopus the newest member of an elite club of tool-using animals--and the first member without a backbone, say the researchers behind the study, published today by the journal Current Biology.

--With reporting by Matt Kaplan
—Photograph courtesy Roger Steene
 
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