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Lara Durgavich @tinkeringprim8
, 16 tweets, 7 min read Read on Twitter
NEXT UP: 10th seed common octopus (Octopus vulgaris) vs. 2nd seed green anaconda (Eunectes murinus) #2018MMM
The clever octopus reached Round 2 by suffocating and enveloping cookie cutter shark. #sneakattack #2018MMM
(Speaking of clever, check out this @MerriamWebster video if you want to impress all your friends by knowing the *multiple* correct plurals of 'octopus'!) #2018MMM #etymology
Anaconda, meanwhile, easily advanced by sending the microscopic tardigrade tumbling in Round 1. #2018MMM
Did you know the age of an individual Octopus vulgaris, which typically has a lifespan of 12-24 months, can be calculated by counting the concentric rings on its beak, just like the rings of a tree? It's true! #2018MMM…
Anacondas are much longer-lived: an average of 10 years in the wild, but up to 30 years in captivity. #2018MMM
Today's encounter takes place in the Amazon, currently experiencing the rainy season, a time of flooding. At peak flooding, the Amazon river dumps more than 200,000 cubic meters/second into the Atlantic! #2018MMM
This massive inflow of freshwater dilutes the ocean's salinity, and not just near the river's mouth. A 1971 survey by Landis revealed altered surface salinity near Barbados, over 1800km away. #2018MMM…
Fortunately for octopus, the Amazon floodwaters do not decrease the salinity of its Atlantic habitat below the recommended range of 33-36 ppt (Pham & Isidro 2009). #2018MMM
BUT today's battle takes place UPRIVER, near the confluence of the Amazon and Tapajos rivers. #2018MMM
And really, "battle" might be a bit of an overstatement. Octopus, in freshwater surroundings with salinity below 0.5 ppt, is not pumped to tangle with the locals. #2018MMM
Lacking the sodium pump that freshwater dwellers have evolved to cope with osmotic balancing, octopus's tissues degrade as it rapidly loses salt to the environment. #2018MMM #UhOh (art by @W00D_MAN)
Octopus's cells burst as fresh water floods them. #2018MMM
Anaconda hardly notices as it swims through octopus's dissolving, gelatinous remains. #2018MMM

[Anaconda swimming through water]

Wait, what's that?!?

[zoom in]

Tardigrade, still gripping anaconda's scales, trails its claws through octopus slime! #2018MMM #AltAdvance
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