[Coral-List] anesthesia for cephalopods
dennis.hubbard at oberlin.edu
Fri Apr 6 10:45:31 EDT 2018
As an anecdotal aside, back in the early 80s (John Ogden may remember
this), we had an undergrad student at West Indies Lab who, as his undergrad
research project, wanted to try to condition an octopus to change its
dietary preferences. The first part of the saga involved actually catching
an octopus (students worked in the field largely without faculty
supervision). After 2 (of 5) weeks passed, somebody caught one for him and
put it in our sea tables.
The experimental design (this was not my student - way to sophisticated for
geologists) was to put two food types int the enclosure and zap the octopus
with some sort of electrical device each time it made the "wrong" choice.
Each time a current was applied, the octopus didn't acknowledge the
stimulus and went about consuming its choice. After a week or so, and with
the electrical current on its way to something that would bring down a
charging elephant, the octopus was still unfazed. One night, the student
forgot to put the cinder block on top of the glass aquarium lid - and
(yep), the octopus pushed back the lid, slithered down into the space below
the sea tables and followed the seawater pipes back to Tague Bay.
Experimental conclusions: A) octopi are pretty ambivalent to electrical
"stimulation", and b) they are no more trainable but perhaps a lot smarter
than the average undergrad.
On Thu, Apr 5, 2018 at 9:21 PM, Douglas Fenner <douglasfennertassi at gmail.com
> Cephalopods being a wonderful part of coral reefs, the following might be
> of interest:
> How to put an octopus to sleep- and make cephalopod research more humane.
> Cheers, Doug
> Douglas Fenner
> Contractor for NOAA NMFS Protected Species, and consultant
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