While observing a Day Octopus exhibiting hunting behavior, Eduardo Sampaio, an octopus scientist, witnessed the octopus deliver an octo-punch as it scoured for food.
Using special headshakes, the grouper can ‘tell’ the octopus where lost prey is hiding, out of the grouper’s reach.
The squirrelfish does not help the octopus find food. Instead, the squirrelfish follows along with the hope of winning a free snack.
Whether the octopus lands a punch to protect against food theft or to reprimand a successful thief, octo-punches are how the Day Octopus protects its prey.
So, yes- an octopus punch may seem aggressive. But, these octopus scientists suggest the sucker-punches are actually how the Day Octopus defends itself from its quick competitors.