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Recording Electrical Activity from the Brain of Behaving Octopus

32 Pages Posted: 23 Dec 2022 Publication Status: Published

See all articles by Tamar Gutnick

Tamar Gutnick

Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) - Physics and Biology Unit

Andreas Neef

Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization

Andrii Cherninskyi

Bogomoletz Institute of Physiology

Fabienne Ziadi-Kunzli

Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) - Nonlinear and Non-equilibrium Physics Unit

Anna Di Cosmo

CSEF - University of Naples Federico II - Department of Biology

Hans-Peter Lipp

University of Zurich - Institute of Evolutionary Medicine

Michael Kuba

Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) - Physics and Biology Unit

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Abstract

Octopuses, which are considered to be among the most intelligent invertebrates, have no skeleton and eight highly flexible arms whose sensory and motor activities are at once autonomous and coordinated by a complex central nervous system. The octopus’ brain is comprised of very large numbers of neurons, organized into numerous distinct lobes, the functions of which have been proposed based largely on the results of lesioning experiments. In other species, linking brain activity to behavior is done by implanting electrodes and directly correlating electrical activity with observed animal behavior. However, because the octopus lacks any hard structure to which recording equipment can be anchored, and because it uses its eight flexible arms to remove any foreign object attached to the outside of its body, in-vivo recording of electrical activity from behaving octopuses has thus far not been possible. Here we describe a novel technique for inserting a portable data logger into the octopus and implanting electrodes into the vertical lobe system, such that brain activity can be recorded for up to 12 hours from unanesthetized, untethered octopuses, and synchronized with simultaneous video recordings of behavior. In the brain activity we identified several distinct patterns that appeared consistently in all animals. While some resemble activity patterns in mammalian neural tissue, others, such as episodes of 2Hz,  large amplitude, oscillations have not been reported. This study provides the first insight into the brain activity of behaving octopuses, and represents a critical step towards understanding how the brain controls behavior in these remarkable animals.

Keywords: Octopus, Octopus Neurophysiology, In vivo, Central nervous system, Brain activity, Octopus behavior, Vertical lobe, infra-slow oscillations, data-logger

Suggested Citation

Gutnick, Tamar and Neef, Andreas and Cherninskyi, Andrii and Ziadi-Kunzli, Fabienne and Di Cosmo, Anna and Lipp, Hans-Peter and Kuba, Michael, Recording Electrical Activity from the Brain of Behaving Octopus. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4309084 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4309084
This version of the paper has not been formally peer reviewed.

Tamar Gutnick (Contact Author)

Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) - Physics and Biology Unit ( email )

Andreas Neef

Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization ( email )

Andrii Cherninskyi

Bogomoletz Institute of Physiology ( email )

Fabienne Ziadi-Kunzli

Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) - Nonlinear and Non-equilibrium Physics Unit ( email )

Anna Di Cosmo

CSEF - University of Naples Federico II - Department of Biology ( email )

Hans-Peter Lipp

University of Zurich - Institute of Evolutionary Medicine ( email )

Michael Kuba

Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) - Physics and Biology Unit ( email )

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