Front cover image for Many things under a rock : the mysteries of octopuses

Many things under a rock : the mysteries of octopuses

David Scheel (Author), Laurel Scheel (Illustrator)
A behavioral ecologist's account of his decades-long obsession with octopuses: his discoveries, adventures, and his scientific understanding of their behaviors. Of all the creatures of the deep blue, none is as captivating as the octopus. In this book, a marine biologist investigates four major mysteries about these elusive beings. How can we study an animal with perfect camouflage and secretive habitats? How does a soft and boneless creature defeat sharks and eels, while thriving as a predator of the most heavily armored animals in the sea? How do octopus bodies work? And how does a solitary animal form friendships, entice mates, and outwit rivals? Over the course of his twenty-five years studying octopuses, the author has witnessed a sea change in what we know and are able to discover about octopus physiology and behavior - even an octopus's inner life. Here, he explores amazing scientific developments, weaving accounts of his own research and surprising encounters with stories and legends of Indigenous peoples - tales that illuminate our relationship with these creatures across centuries. In doing so, the author reveals a deep affinity between humans and even the most unusual and unique undersea dwellers. Octopuses are complex, emotional, and cognitive beings; even as the author unearths explanations for the key mysteries that have driven his work, he turns up many more things of wonder that lurk underneath. This is the story of what we have learned - and what we are still learning - about the natural history and wondrous lives of these animals with whom we share our blue planet. -- Provided by publisher
Print Book, English, 2023
First edition View all formats and editions
W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., New York, NY, 2023
Popular works
307 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
9781324020691, 1324020695
Introduction : The inner lives of octopuses
Where are they? Missing octopuses. Starting out in Alaska ; Dangerous giants ; Lost home
Finding octopuses. Our cousin octopuses ; Octopuses overrun
Missing octopuses again. Global octopuses ; Octopuses seized
Want. Tracking octopuses. Octopus scraps ; Octopus tools
Watching octopuses. Storied octopuses ; Octopus adept
Reach. Sensation and the grasp of octopuses. Seeing octopuses ; Reaching octopuses ; Sensational octopuses
Octopus cognition. Constant octopuses ; Dreaming octopuses
Revelation. Solitary octopuses. Octopus hungry and afraid ; Octopus cannibal ; Octopuses in wild relationships
Society octopuses. Gathering octopuses ; Octopus quidnuncs ; Octopuses in domestic relationships