Octopuses hunt for prey in cracks and crevices along the seabed using ‘taste-by-touch’ — the ability to detect chemical signals simply by touching them. Now researchers have identified the molecular makeup of a chemo-tactile receptor that makes this possible. In this film we explore the surprising origins of this receptor, and ask whether molecular evolution can explain octopuses’ unique behaviours.

Research article: Structural basis of sensory receptor evolution in octopus

Research article: Sensory specializations drive octopus and squid behaviour