Rambo the Octopus Knows How to Snap Your Picture – as New Research Reveals How These Creatures Move

KS_LOGOs2_UnderwaterHer name is Rambo, she lives in New Zealand, she takes pictures, and, oh yeah… she is an octopus! In a new viral video released by Sony, you can see Rambo in action, snapping pics of excited guests in exchange for treats – using Sony’s underwater Cyber Shot TX30 camera.

Rambo, who was given the name based on the amount of destruction she caused the first few camera set-ups, lives at the Kelly Tarlton’s Sea Life Aquarium in Auckland. Rambo may be the world’s first professional ‘octographer,’ given the fact each photo costs $1.50 a pop!

The truth is, octopuses are highly intelligent. They open jars, make daring escapes from their tanks, and even dismantle high tech equipment! Click here to watch an octopus break apart a camera.

Mark Vette, Rambo’s trainer, told Cult of Mac, “When we first tried to get her to take a photo, it only took three attempts for her to understand the process. That’s faster than a dog… Actually, it’s faster than a human in some instances.”

Octopuses learn quickly and are highly motivated by food. Rambo was first taught to respond to a buzzer – which meant snack time. Then Vette had to teach her the buzzer meant to take a picture, which resulted in food.

Vette told NPR the hard part wasn’t training Rambo to shoot pictures; the hard part was creating an underwater set-up for the tank that the curious cephalopod wouldn’t destroy.

He told NPR, “She took the camera, ripped it off its hinges, ripped it off everything, smashed it to bits and spat it out.” Hence the name Rambo 🙂


How Does the Octopus Seamlessly Co-ordinate Its Eight Arms?

Good thing octopuses don’t dance, because according to a new study, they have no rhythm.

Researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem used high speed cameras to film octopuses moving around their tank – then analyzed the footage frame-by-frame. What they discovered surprised them.

Scientists found that the octopus moves by shortening and elongating its arms, which creates a pushing thrust. The animal does not move by bending or pulling its arms, as previously thought.

Octopuses have bilateral body symmetry, which means their left side is a mirror image of their right. Most bilateral-symmetric animals face forward when they are moving (except the crab, which walks sideways.) But, octopuses can move in ANY direction without needing to turn their bodies. They just push off a surface and propel themselves wherever they’d like.

“So the octopus only has to decide which arm to use for the pushing – it doesn’t need to decide which direction this arm will push,” explained Dr Levy. “[It has] found a very simple solution to a potentially complicated problem – it just has to pick which arm to recruit.”

While, the octopus clearly has some rad moves, researchers have not been able to spot a pattern, or rhythm to their movement. Levy believes there either is no pattern to discover, or their movement is too complicated for the studies they conducted.

The findings are published in the journal Current Biology.

Push-pull: The footage, captured by Dr Guy Levy, reveals how each arm moves the animal in a particular direction
Push-pull: The footage, captured by Dr Guy Levy, reveals how each arm moves the animal in a particular direction