Prey preference of the common long-armed octopus Octopus minor (Cephalopoda: Octopodidae) on three different species of bivalves

  • Minpeng Song
  • Jinhai Wang
  • Xiaodong ZhengEmail author


Octopus minor is widely distributed along the northern coast of China. To date, there is little information on the prey selection process of this species. To understand this process, several experiments were carried out. Three types of bivalves, namely, Ruditapes philippinarum, Mactra chinensis, and Mytilus edulis, were used to observe the prey selection of O. minor and to analyze the potential causes of prey selection from three aspects: prey profitability, adductor muscle tension and handling time. Under single-prey conditions, we found that the average (±SD) predation rates of O. minor on R. philippinarum, M. chinensis, and M. edulis were 1.73±0.50, 1.27±0.42, and 0.8±0.2/d, respectively. Under different prey combinations, octopods actively selected one type of prey over the other(s), and the order of prey preference was R. philippinarum, followed by M. chinensis and lastly M. edulis. Furthermore, the shells of the consumed prey showed that O. minor only consumed bivalves by pulling them apart since there was no evidence of drill holes on the shells. The prey selection of O. minor was related to the prey profitability and handling time; O. minor appeared to select preys with a higher profitability and a shorter handling time. However, the difficulty in opening the bivalve was not consistent with the prey preference of the octopods. These results suggest that O. minor prefers to consume R. philippinarum possibly due to a high profitability and a short handling time that supports the optimum Foraging Theory.


Octopus minor bivalve prey preference prey selection prey profitability 


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We thank Dr. Diego Orol Gómez, Dr. YU Zhenlin, Master HU Nan and Master XIN Xiaoke for their valuable advice and suggestion, and Mr. CAI Bing, Mr. CAI Hui for the sample collection. We also thank three reviewers for their useful ideas and criticism.


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Copyright information

© Chinese Society for Oceanology and Limnology, Science Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Mariculture (Ocean University of China)Ministry of EducationQingdaoChina
  2. 2.Institute of Evolution and Marine BiodiversityOcean University of ChinaQingdaoChina

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