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Article

Sensorial Hierarchy in Octopus vulgaris’s Food Choice: Chemical vs. Visual

1
Department of Biology, University of Napoli Federico II, Complesso Universitario Monte Sant’ Angelo, Via Cinthia, 80126 Napoli, Italy
2
Department of Economics and Statistics, University of Naples Federico II, Complesso Universitario Monte Sant’Angelo, Via Cinthia, 80126 Napoli, Italy
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Animals 2020, 10(3), 457; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10030457
Received: 11 February 2020 / Revised: 28 February 2020 / Accepted: 5 March 2020 / Published: 10 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Aquatic Animals)
Coleoids are cephalopods endowed with a highly sophisticated nervous system with keen sense organs and an exceptionally large brain that includes more than 30 differentiated lobes. Within this group, Octopus vulgaris, well known as an intelligent soft-bodied animal, has a significant number of lobes in the nervous system dedicated to decoding and integrating visual, tactile, and chemosensory perceptions. In this study, we aimed to understand the key role of chemical and visual cues during food selection in O. vulgaris. We first defined the preferred food, and subsequently, we set up five different problem-solving tasks, in which the animal’s choice is guided by visual and chemosensory signals, either alone or together, to evaluate whether individual O. vulgaris uses a sensorial hierarchy. Our behavioural experiments show that this species does integrate different sensory information from chemical and visual cues during food selection; however, our results indicate that chemical perception provides accurate and faster information leading to food choice. This research opens new perspectives on O. vulgaris’ predation strategies.
Octopus vulgaris possesses highly sophisticated sense organs, processed by the nervous system to generate appropriate behaviours such as finding food, avoiding predators, identifying conspecifics, and locating suitable habitat. Octopus uses multiple sensory modalities during the searching and selection of food, in particular, the chemosensory and visual cues. Here, we examined food choice in O. vulgaris in two ways: (1) We tested octopus’s food preference among three different kinds of food, and established anchovy as the preferred choice (66.67%, Friedman test p < 0.05); (2) We exposed octopus to a set of five behavioural experiments in order to establish the sensorial hierarchy in food choice, and to evaluate the performance based on the visual and chemical cues, alone or together. Our data show that O. vulgaris integrates sensory information from chemical and visual cues during food choice. Nevertheless, food choice resulted in being more dependent on chemical cues than visual ones (88.9%, Friedman test p < 0.05), with a consistent decrease of the time spent identifying the preferred food. These results define the role played by the senses with a sensorial hierarchy in food choice, opening new perspectives on the O. vulgaris’ predation strategies in the wild, which until today were considered to rely mainly on visual cues. View Full-Text
Keywords: Octopus vulgaris; cephalopod behaviour; problem-solving; cephalopod; chemical cues; visual cues; food choice; octopus sense organs Octopus vulgaris; cephalopod behaviour; problem-solving; cephalopod; chemical cues; visual cues; food choice; octopus sense organs
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MDPI and ACS Style

Maselli, V.; Al-Soudy, A.-S.; Buglione, M.; Aria, M.; Polese, G.; Di Cosmo, A. Sensorial Hierarchy in Octopus vulgaris’s Food Choice: Chemical vs. Visual. Animals 2020, 10, 457. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10030457

AMA Style

Maselli V, Al-Soudy A-S, Buglione M, Aria M, Polese G, Di Cosmo A. Sensorial Hierarchy in Octopus vulgaris’s Food Choice: Chemical vs. Visual. Animals. 2020; 10(3):457. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10030457

Chicago/Turabian Style

Maselli, Valeria, Al-Sayed Al-Soudy, Maria Buglione, Massimo Aria, Gianluca Polese, and Anna Di Cosmo. 2020. "Sensorial Hierarchy in Octopus vulgaris’s Food Choice: Chemical vs. Visual" Animals 10, no. 3: 457. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10030457

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