Study Finds Octopuses Are Thugs That Punch Fish For No Reason – The Internet Reacts

Scientific study finds that octopus are bullies that punch fish for no reason and the internet reacts with funny memes.

Getty Image / FRED TANNEAU/AFP via Getty Images


You’re just a little Nemo fish swimming along the ocean floor, and out of the clear blue ocean – “THWAAACK!” – your fish face gets smashed by the tentacle of an octopus. You just got fish-slapped! Scientists have observed this thuggish behavior by octopuses and they’re not exactly sure why. Imagine getting into a fight with an octopus? You’d get hit with a right hook, then a left hook, then a right hook, then a left hook, then a right hook, then a left hook, then a right hook, and finally another left hook.

Marine biologists observed sucker-punching cephalopods using their appendages to smack fish around. Several octopuses in the Red Sea and elsewhere were caught on film being bullies, smacking fish as they swam by.

“Researchers recorded eight octopus-on-fish fight videos between 2018 and 2019 in the Red Sea involving a diversity of victims, including squirrelfish, blacktip, lyretail, groupers, yellow-saddle and goatfishes,” according to the New York Post. Good to see that octopuses don’t discriminate in who they attack.

Octopuses and fish hunt in the same areas, so the scientists theorize that the cephalopods attempt to intimidate the fish by slapping the crap out of them. Alpha octopuses want to assert their dominance over pesky fish so they can snatch the prey first. Researchers also believe the violent outbursts could be “spiteful behavior” or a form of “punishment.” Or what if the fish are disrespectful and shouting, “Suck it octopussies!”

The punchy discovery was outlined in a paper titled “Octopuses punch fishes during collaborative interspecific hunting events” that was published by the Ecological Society of America (ESA). Eduardo Sampaio, a researcher at the Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre in Lisbon, shared the exciting discovery on Twitter.

“You can see there some punches are almost like a small boop,” Sampaio told NPR. “And the other ones that even the whole arm curls up and uncurls afterwards, you know, like the motion of a boxer doing a punch.”

The internet had questions about the punch-drunk cephalopods after Blink-182 member Mark Hoppus tweeted out the study. Most were #TeamOctopus.

Then the internet did its thing and made octopus memes.

Luckily for the fish, the octopuses don’t have eight guns or even more dangerous – eight Twisted Tea cans.

I’m not even sure why this study was necessary, we’ve known about the violent side of octopuses for years.