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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.