London, Aug 13: It is now time that we stop saying 'Octopuses have eight arms', as they have only six arms and the other two are legs, claim scientists. They claim that octopuses effectively have 'six arms and two legs'. Claire Little, a marine expert from the Weymouth Sea Life Centre in Dorset has denied the long held assumption and said that two of the organism's tentacle-like limbs are actually legs.
In a new study, scientists at Sea Life centres across Europe, discovered that octopuses use their two rearmost limbs for moving around the sea bed, and other six limbs are meant for feeding purposes. Scientists from 20 centres across Europe collected data from 2,000 observations of common octopuses for getting the results.
During their study, the scientists observed these aquatic creatures in action, and noticed that while they push forward using their 'legs', the other tentacles are mainly meant for pumping themselves along. This largest of its kind study, was actually meant for showing whether octopuses favoured one side or the other.
However, the scientists came to know that octopuses are ambidextrous, despite many seem to favour their third arm from the front to eat with. The eight-limbed organisms either swim or crawl across the seabed, and when they need to swim fast, they can shoot a jet of water from a body opening.
"We've found that octopuses effectively have six arms and two legs. Observations showed that they use the rearmost two to get around over rocks and the seabed," said Little.
"They also use these two legs to push off when they wish to swim, and then other tentacles are used to propel them", added Little.