Octopus Has How Many Legs? Guess Again

New research shows denizens of the deep show specialization, and handedness
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 14, 2008 8:26 PM CDT
Octopus for eating.   (Getty Images)
camera-icon View 4 more images

(Newser) – Octopuses may not be eight-legged creatures after all, new research suggests. They do indeed have eight limbs, but some function more like arms, AFP reports. It breaks down like this: the front two are the most nimble and armlike, and are used for exploration; the back two are used mostly for propulsion, like legs; and the others pull double-duty to varying degrees.

"They have that facility, unlike humans, where if we tried to grab our food with our feet we might fail miserably,” said one of the researchers. The octupuses in the study were nimble enough to handle Rubik's Cubes, though none solved them. And even though octupus means "eight-footed," don't look for a dictionary change. “The name's pretty good, and they would have to rename James Bond movies," said the researcher.