SCIENCE
08/17/2015 08:18 am ET Updated Aug 17, 2015

This Tiny Octopus Hunts In A Very Strange Way

This little guy is changing the octopus game.

This little octopus is challenging just about everything we thought we knew about the eight-legged creatures -- including the way they hunt, mate, and give birth. 

Take hunting. Whereas most octopuses pounce on their prey using all eight tentacles, new research shows that the larger Pacific striped octopus (LPSO)  uses a single tentacle to tap its prey, scaring it right into its grasp--just have a look at the LPSO in this incredible new video (above). Yikes.

"I’ve never seen anything like it," Dr. Roy Caldwell, a marine biologist at the University of California, Berkeley and a member of the team that conducted the research, said in a written statement. 

UC berkeley

And then there's the LPSO's odd mating behavior. Most other octopuses stay at arm's length while mating, because females tend to get aggressive--sometimes to the point that make a meal of the male.

But LPSOs cozy up a little more, grasping each other sucker-to-sucker with their beaks touching as if kissing. And these kissing cephalopods even move in together in rock nooks and crannies, which others rarely do.

After mating, the females lay their eggs and keep right on going. Females of other octopus species tend to die after a single brood. 

(Story continues below image.) 

Roy Caldwell

Why are scientists only just finding all of this out?  Well, it's not easy to study LPSOs, or octopuses in general. 

"Many are small, live in dens or nooks and crannies in the reef, are nocturnal, are camouflaged... It is difficult to study a species that we can only collect once in a great while," Caldwell told The Huffington Post in an email. 

 So while it seems like this little guy is different from every other octopus, we can't be positive yet.   

"The fact is that most of what we know about octopus come from only a handful of large species.  I want to say that LPSOs exhibit many unusual behaviors, but the fact is there may be lots of other species exhibiting similar -- or even more unusual behaviors," Caldwell said in the email.  

A paper describing the research was was published August 12, 2015 in the journal PLOS ONE. 

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