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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 25 February, 2003, 10:14 GMT
Octopus twists for shrimps
Roger Moore opens jar in Brighton
Jar trick: Octopuses are capable of feats of dexterity
An octopus in a German zoo has learned to open jars of shrimps by copying staff - and is now showing off her skills to visitors.

Five-month-old Frida opens the jars by pressing her body on the lid and grasping the sides with her eight tentacles.

She unscrews the lid by repeatedly twisting her body.

"Depending on how tight the lid is, it takes her anything from 10 seconds to an hour to get it off," said Frank Mueller, head of the aquarium at the Hellabrunn Zoo in Munich.

She opens the jars before the public at feeding time twice a week.

Mr Mueller said he taught Frida the trick after he remembered seeing octopuses accomplishing feats of dexterity while he was diving in Morocco - where Frida originated.

Einstein and Roger Moore

"We just did it in the tank a few times and eventually she cottoned on," he said.

"You won't see any other marine creatures do this. She's been at it about a month now."

Frida is following in the footsteps - or tentacle steps - of two octopuses in the UK - one in Brighton known as Roger Moore, and another in Tynemouth, named Einstein.

At least one octopus in America has also mastered the art.

Octopuses belong to the same family as slugs and snails - but are far more intelligent.

Their eyes are like those of humans and they have the largest and most advanced brain of any invertebrate.

Although they are usually reddish-brown in colour they can change shades quickly and discharge ink when threatened.

They spend much of their time lying in holes and crevices or among rocks.




SEE ALSO:
Giant squid 'attacks French boat'
15 Jan 03 |  Sci/Tech
Einstein flips his lid
12 Jun 02 |  England
Giant octopus puzzles scientists
28 Mar 02 |  Sci/Tech
Octopus arms do the thinking
06 Sep 01 |  Sci/Tech


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