Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Role reversal

This is not one of those mystery creatures that washes up on the beach. Those are the wings of a seagull that has been pulled underwater and gobbled up by a hungry octopus! The event was witnessed - and captured on camera - by visitors to the Ogden Point Breakwater on Vancouver Island, Canada, in March of this year. Ken Morneau, his wife Ginger Morneau,and her brother Lou Baker were strolling along the walkway when they noticed a gull acting strangely 15' below. It's head was underwater and they thought it was picking at an octopus, but then realized the reverse was true. In less than a minute, the Giant Pacific Octopus had wrapped a tentacle around the bird's head, drowned it, and consumed it but for the wings. Ann Nightingale describes on BirdFellow (read entire account and see more photos here):
"The first winter Glaucous-winged Gull was struggling, flapping its wings in an attempt to break the octopus’s grip, but without success. The octopus’s 8 tentacled arms allowed it to cling firmly to the rocks and simultaneously maintain its grasp on to the gull. Initially, air was bubbling to the surface, but within a minute, the struggle was over. More tentacles came out of the water to grab the body of the gull and pull it completely under. Other gulls flew overhead, noisily checking out the scene as if to see if there were going to be any scraps, but disappeared once the victim had been pulled from the surface." 
Nightingale notes that to commemorate witnessing and photographing the rare event, Ginger, Ken and Lou had calamari for lunch!
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Previous posts about octopi:

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