Octopus arms exhibit exceptional flexibility
Kennedy, E. B. Lane
Buresch, Kendra C.
Hanlon, Roger T.
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The octopus arm is often referred to as one of the most flexible limbs in nature, yet this assumption requires detailed inspection given that this has not been measured comprehensively for all portions of each arm. We investigated the diversity of arm deformations in Octopus bimaculoides with a frame-by-frame observational analysis of laboratory video footage in which animals were challenged with different tasks. Diverse movements in these hydrostatic arms are produced by some combination of four basic deformations: bending (orally, aborally; inward, outward), torsion (clockwise, counter-clockwise), elongation, and shortening. More than 16,500 arm deformations were observed in 120 min of video. Results showed that all eight arms were capable of all four types of deformation along their lengths and in all directions. Arms function primarily to bring the sucker-lined oral surface in contact with target surfaces. Bending was the most common deformation observed, although the proximal third of the arms performed relatively less bending and more shortening and elongation as compared with other arm regions. These findings demonstrate the exceptional flexibility of the octopus arm and provide a basis for investigating motor control of the entire arm, which may aid the future development of soft robotics.
© The Author(s), 2020. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Kennedy, E. B. L., Buresch, K. C., Boinapally, P., & Hanlon, R. T. Octopus arms exhibit exceptional flexibility. Scientific Reports, 10(1), (2020): 20872. doi:10.1038/s41598-020-77873-7.
Suggested CitationKennedy, E. B. L., Buresch, K. C., Boinapally, P., & Hanlon, R. T. (2020). Octopus arms exhibit exceptional flexibility. Scientific Reports, 10(1), 20872.
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