Marine Biology

, Volume 158, Issue 12, pp 2795–2804 | Cite as

Prey selection in Octopus rubescens: possible roles of energy budgeting and prey nutritional composition

  • Kirt L. Onthank
  • David L. Cowles
Original Paper


This study explores the relationship between energy budgeting and prey choice of Octopus rubescens. Seventeen male Octopus rubescens were collected between June 2006 and August 2007 from Admiralty Bay, Washington. Prey choices made by individuals in the laboratory deviated widely from those expected from a simple optimal foraging model. O. rubescens chose the crab Hemigrapsus nudus over the clam Nuttallia obscurata as prey by a ratio of 3:1, even though prey energy content and handling times suggested that this octopus could obtain 10 times more energy intake per unit time when choosing the latter compared to the former prey species. Octopus energy budgets were similar when consuming either of the prey species except for lipid extraction efficiency that was significantly higher in octopuses consuming H. nudus. This suggests that lipid digestibility may play an important role in the prey choice of O. rubescens.


Prey Item Prey Species Energy Budget Digestive Gland Handling Time 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We would like to thank Dr. Joe Galusha and Dr. Jim Nestler of the Department of Biological Sciences at Walla Walla University and Roland Anderson of the Seattle Aquarium for their contributions and input to this research. We would also like to thank the anonymous reviewers and Dr. Myron Peck of Universität Hamburg for their insightful and helpful comments on this manuscript. The Walla Walla University Department of Biological Sciences provided funding for this work. All experiments reported here complied with current laws of the United States of America.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Biological SciencesWashington State UniversityPullmanUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biological SciencesWalla Walla UniversityCollege PlaceUSA

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