Why don’t octopus arms ever get tangled?

With our two arms, two legs, and a dozen joints, humans have it easy when it comes to telling limb from limb. The octopus, on the other hand, has much more complicated body plan. Its eight boneless arms can form joints at any point, bending in all directions like cooked spaghetti noodles. And each arm bristles with hundreds of tooth-tipped suckers that stick to any fleshy surface. Imagine trying to untangle a string of holiday lights covered in glue. You’d think an octopus would spend every day just trying to keep its arms from tangling into one impossible knot, but these undersea wonders have two foolproof systems for keeping their limbs straight:

Smart legs: Each of the octopus’s eight arms has a mind of its own: a network of roughly 400,000 neurons that controls the arm without input from the animal’s main brain. These micro-brains help the arms work together rather than clump together.

Sucker-proof skin: Octopus skin excretes a special chemical. When the suckers brush against the creature’s other arms, they sense the chemical and automatically avoid latching on. The octopus can override this reflex if it wants to (say, it’s battling another octopus). Scientists think octopuses also rely on these chemicals to detect and identify each other.


Picture Credit : Google