Octopus and also squid can hear.

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The discovery resolves a century-long controversy over even if it is cephalopods, the group of sea creatures that contains octopus, squid, cuttlefish and nautiluses, deserve to hear sounds underwater.

Compared to fish, octopus and also squid perform not show up to hear an especially well.

But the fact they deserve to hear raises the possibility that these intelligent pets may use sound to catch prey, communicate with one another or listen out for predators.

The concern of even if it is cephalopods deserve to perceive sound has actually been controversial since the early 20th Century. Some experiments suggested that blind octopus seemed able to locate the sounds produced by watercrafts or through tapping top top the outside of a tank.

But many cephalopods lack a gas-filled chamber, such together the swimming bladders the fish have the right to use come hear. That said they can not recognize the press wave ingredient of sound.

However, sensory physiologist Hong Young Yan the the Taiwan nationwide Academy of scientific research in Taipei, Taiwan suspected that octopus and squid can use one more organ dubbed the statocyst to register sound.


An octopus"s hear is tuned to life on the seafloor

The statocyst is a sac-like framework containing a mineralised mass and also sensitive hairs.

Fish likewise use it to detect sounds, and also in previous research, Yan showed that prawns deserve to use your statocysts come hear. "So we expanded our occupational from prawns to cephalopods," states Yan.

Yan"s team tested the auditory capabilities of two species, the usual octopus Octopus vulgaris and the squid Sepioteuthis lessoniana, often dubbed the Bigfin reef squid.

They found that the octopus can hear sounds between 400Hz and also 1000Hz. The squid deserve to hear an broader range the sound indigenous 400Hz come 1500Hz, they report in comparative Biochemistry and also Physiology, part A.

"That suggests that squid have a far better hearing ability than the octopus," claims Yan. "Interestingly though, both varieties hear best at a frequency that 600Hz."

Yan"s team had actually to overcome details technical challenges to inspection the cephalopods" hear ability. The usual way to prove the an organism deserve to hear is come measure exactly how its nervous device electrically responds come sound. Yet that deserve to involve directly attaching electrodes to exposed nerves, one invasive procedure that could harm breakable cephalopods.

So Yan created a non-invasive method, which entails placing electrodes on one animal"s body to measure the electrical activity in that is brain. In this way, he could measure within simply a couple of hrs whether the brain of an octopus or octopus responds come sound.

Avoiding gift eaten

The discovery could open increase a brand-new understanding of cephalopod behaviour.

"The crucial question which ns would like to investigate is what kind of sounds space they listening to?" says Yan. "Perhaps they hear to sound to evade predators and can eavesdrop to sounds made by your prey. Or, probably they even can make sounds to communicate among themselves."

For example, due to the fact that octopus or squid perform not possess gas-filled chambers within their bodies, they can not amplify sounds, limiting your hearing ability. But they can hear as well as invertebrates such as prawns, although much less well 보다 many varieties of fish and also the toothed whales which frequently eat them.

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"Squid are greatly preyed ~ above by toothed whales including dolphins. So perhaps their hearing would help them to protect against the pinging sounds made through dolphins," states Yan.

He states the different abilities that the octopus and also squid additionally reflect the setting they live in.

The common octopus dwells on the seabed, which is extended by large rocks, boulders, coral reef and other features. In water, sounds above 1000Hz have actually a wavelength less than 1.5m. Together sound waves cannot in turn pass objects better than 1.5m in size, and they gain deflected, which can explain why the octopus doesn"t should hear them.

Squid live in the open water where there room fewer obstacles, and therefore sounds pass uninterrupted end a higher frequency range.