Eight Armed Mischief: The Deeply Intelligent Octopus

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Free swimming Caribbean reef octopus out at night, Octopus briareus, Curacao, Netherlands Antilles.

There are around 300 species of octopuses and their strength and knowledge combine to make them a serious force to be reckoned with... instead of merely a summer appetizer.

Sy Montgomery discusses her latest book The Soul of an Octopus for this week’s Please Explain. Montgomery immersed herself in the world of octopuses at the New England Aquarium, the reefs of French Polynesia, and the Gulf of Mexico. She befriended several of these creatures, revealing their strikingly different personalities. She also discusses how scientists are learning more about the deep intellect of these creatures, despite having a hard time measuring this intelligence. Octopuses have been known to escape their enclosures or spray researchers that they don’t like, and generally have a reputation for misbehaving. 

And don't forget to check out a compilation of the best octopus occupations, assembled by the Lopate team.