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Last Updated: Friday July 18 2008 05:39 GMT

So, is an octopus right-handed?

Gavin tries to keep track of the tentacles

Gavin goes to find out about a very interesting octopus experiment - finding out if octopi are right or left tentacled!


I went to visit an aquarium in Brighton to see a very special guest... Popeye the octopus!

Now, Popeye along with a few other eight-legged pals are part of a big study taking place around the UK and Europe at the moment - all to examine how the creatures behave. Curious? Yep, so was I!

Popeye the octopus with a toy
Popeye the octopus with a toy
The study is pretty complicated - but essentially, the experts behind it are looking at what tentacles the sea creatures use when things like food or toys are thrown into their tanks.

It's all to test whether they favour a certain combination of arms could be sort of left or right-tentacled!

A diagram was given to illustrate how the tentacles were labelled. The right ones were called R1, R2, R3 and R4. The ones on the left were L1 and so on.

Which tentacle?

Anyone with a bit of time to spare could help too - by recording the first three limbs Popeye uses on an object that was thrown in.

I found it pretty hard to work out which ones Popeye was using!

A toy was put in the tank, and he just leapt for it with all his limbs - talk about giving me a hard time! Was it L1, R3, L4.... Or L2, R4 Arghhhh!

The people behind it are hoping to discover more on how the octopus brain works.

And because the animals get scared quite easily, they'll be able figure out how to treat them with care.

The results won't be out until later this year. So it shouldn't be too long till we find out which of their eight tentacles they like to grab things with.