Is there external digestion by Octopus?
Article first published online: 20 AUG 2009
Journal of Zoology
Volume 202, Issue 3, pages 441–447, March 1984
How to Cite
Nixon, M. (1984), Is there external digestion by Octopus?. Journal of Zoology, 202: 441–447. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7998.1984.tb05094.x
- Issue published online: 20 AUG 2009
- Article first published online: 20 AUG 2009
- Accepted 21 July 1983
A crab which has been captured and paralysed by an octopus but retrieved 1 1/2 min later cannot at first be pulled apart by the experimenter: 27 min later it can be dismembered easily. This demonstrates that there is external digestion when Octopus vulgaris feeds upon crabs. However, it is strictly limited at this stage to the arthrodial membrane and the musculo-skeletal attachment mechanisms as the exoskeleton separates at the joints allowing the muscles to be drawn out of the appendages. And yet, two hours after capture, pieces of crab meat are still recognizable in the octopus's stomach.
The process of paralysing and cleaning a crab was noticeably slowed after the surgical removal of the radula, salivary papilla or the lateral buccal palps.