This is Steve, a crab fisherman.
The basics are simple. But some bait in a pot, let it sink, sit back, and wait for crabs to wander in.
Steve knows that most crustaceans aren’t known for their IQ.
Once inside the trap, they haven’t got a clue how to get out.
The exit is obvious enough to us, but some animals just aren’t born with much in the way of brains.
But why does the seafloor here look like a crab graveyard?
Well, there’s another crab fisherman living down here in this cave.
And it’s a much more creative one than Steve.
The animal living here shouldn’t really be a problem.
Its closest relatives are slugs, snail, and clams.
It’s a giant Pacific octopus, an animal with one huge advantage – an enormous brain.
Taking body size into account, only those of birds and mammals are bigger.
Two thirds of those brain cells, or neurons, are actually in its tentacles.
And it uses them all to approach the problem of crab poaching.
Plan A is to smother the prey.
With the metal trap in the way, that’s not too successful.
But that huge brain helps the octopus to get creative and to think up a dramatically different strategy.
Once inside, there’s an easy meal, but this could be its last.
Breaking in was easy, but the octopus can do something that the crabs find impossible.
A sure sigh that an octopus has struck - a trail of empty shells and a frustrated fisherman.
(What can I say?)
These creative problem-solving skills set octopus apart from all other invertebrates.