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How does coconut form?

How does coconut form?


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I've seen that at the earlier stage coconut is filed with water and, as time passes, the water inside the coconut escapes and a thick layer of white substance forms.

Is the water converted into that white substance?


There is no water escaping from the coconut seed. The transformation of coconut water into coconut meat is explained by the development of the endosperm.

What happens is that, after the (double) fertilization, the endosperm of the coconut forms by nuclear division without cellular division, that is, without the formation of cell walls. This is called nuclear endosperm. According to the Wikipedia link above:

Nuclear endosperm formation → where repeated free-nuclear divisions take place; if a cell wall is formed it will form after free-nuclear divisions. Commonly referred to as liquid endosperm. Coconut water is an example of this. (emphasis mine)

So, in an oversimplification, think about the coconut water as the cytoplasm of a single, huge cell, full of hundreds of nuclei.

After some time, cell walls surrounding the nuclei start to form. This is what we call cellular endosperm. According to the same link:

Cellular endosperm formation → where a cell-wall formation is coincident with nuclear divisions. Coconut meat is cellular endosperm. (emphasis mine)

Therefore, in the coconut, the endosperm is initially nuclear (coconut water) and, after some time, becomes cellular (coconut meat).

According to Abraham and Mathew (1963):

Cellular endosperm development becomes visible in nuts about 6 months old, at which stage a thin coating of jelly-like endosperm tissue is seen around the periphery of the large embryo-sac cavity.

This image shows those two tipes of endosperm (and helobial endosperm as well):


Source:

  • ABRAHAM, A. and MATHEW, P. (1963). Cytology of Coconut Endosperm. Annals of Botany, 27(3), pp.505-512.

The Coconut

The Coconut: Phylogeny, Origins, and Spread comprehensively covers the botany, phylogeny, origins, and spread of the coconut palm. The coconut is used primarily for its oil, fiber, and as an article of food, including its tender-nut water. Until the 1950s, coconut oil used to rank first in the world in production and international trade among all the vegetable oils. Since then, lower-cost sources such as the African oil palm, soybean, canola, and others have overtaken the coconut in oil production and trade. The coconut, Cocos nucifera L. (Arecaceae), is a dominant part of the littoral vegetation across the tropics. In addition to discussing the origins of the coconut and its use as a crop, the book covers the resurgence in the use of the coconut in food, pharmaceuticals, and nutraceuticals.

The Coconut: Phylogeny, Origins, and Spread comprehensively covers the botany, phylogeny, origins, and spread of the coconut palm. The coconut is used primarily for its oil, fiber, and as an article of food, including its tender-nut water. Until the 1950s, coconut oil used to rank first in the world in production and international trade among all the vegetable oils. Since then, lower-cost sources such as the African oil palm, soybean, canola, and others have overtaken the coconut in oil production and trade. The coconut, Cocos nucifera L. (Arecaceae), is a dominant part of the littoral vegetation across the tropics. In addition to discussing the origins of the coconut and its use as a crop, the book covers the resurgence in the use of the coconut in food, pharmaceuticals, and nutraceuticals.


Interesting Coconut Facts

  • Every bit of the coconut is used. As a result, coconuts are called the “Tree of Life” and can produce drink, fiber, food, fuel, utensils, musical instruments, and much more.
  • When intra-venous (IV) solution was in short supply, doctors during World War II and Vietnam used coconut water in substitution of IV solutions.
  • Botanically, the coconut palm is not a tree since there is no bark, no branches, or secondary growth. A coconut palm is a woody perennial monocotyledon with the trunk being the stem.
  • Possibly the oldest reference is from Cosmas, a 5th century AD Egyptian traveler. He wrote about the “Indian nut” or “nut of India” after visiting India and Ceylon. Some scholars believe Cosmas was describing a coconut.
  • Soleyman, an Arab merchant, visited China in the 9th century and describes the use of coir fiber and toddy made from coconuts.
  • In the 16th century, Sir Francis Drake called coconut “nargils”, which was the common term used until the 1700’s when the word coconut was established.
  • It takes 11 -12 months for the coconut to mature.
  • At one time scientists identified over 60 species of Cocos palm. Today, the coconut is a monotypic with one species, nucifera. However, there are over 80 varieties of coconut palms, which are defined by characteristics such as dwarf and tall.
  • Coconut growing regions are as far north as Hawaii and as far south as Madagascar.

Published: 11/19/2019. Author: Science Reference Section, Library of Congress


Deep history of coconuts decoded

A chef wearing avocado sunscreen holds a sweet nui vai coconut. The photo was taken in the Masoala Peninsula of Madagascar by plant biologist Bee Gunn while she was collecting coconut leaf tissue for DNA analysis.The DNA of the Madagascar coconuts turned out to be particularly interesting, preserving, as it did, news of the arrival of ancient Austronesians at the island off Africa.

The coconut (the fruit of the palm Cocos nucifera) is the Swiss Army knife of the plant kingdom in one neat package it provides a high-calorie food, potable water, fiber that can be spun into rope, and a hard shell that can be turned into charcoal. What’s more, until it is needed for some other purpose, it serves as a handy flotation device.

No wonder people from ancient Austronesians to Captain Bligh pitched a few coconuts aboard before setting sail. (The mutiny of the Bounty is supposed to have been triggered by Bligh’s harsh punishment of the theft of coconuts from the ship’s store.)

So extensively is the history of the coconut interwoven with the history of people traveling that Kenneth M. Olsen, PhD, a plant evolutionary biologist at Washington University in St. Louis, didn’t expect to find much geographical structure to coconut genetics when he and his colleagues set out to examine the DNA of more than 1300 coconuts from all over the world.

“I thought it would be mostly a mish-mash,” Olsen says, thoroughly homogenized by humans schlepping coconuts with them on their travels.

He was in for a surprise. It turned out that there are two clearly differentiated populations of coconuts, a finding that strongly suggests the coconut was brought under cultivation in two separate locations, one in the Pacific basin and the other in the Indian Ocean basin. What’s more, coconut genetics also preserve a record of prehistoric trade routes and of the colonization of the Americas.

The discoveries of the team, which included Bee Gunn, now of the Australian National University in Australia, and Luc Baudouin of the Centre International de Recherches en Agronomie pour le Développement (CIRAD) in Montpellier, France, as well as Olsen, associate professor of biology in Arts & Sciences at WUSTL, are described in the June 23 online issue of the journal PLoS One.

Morphology a red herring
Before the DNA era, biologists recognized a domesticated plant by its morphology. In the case of grains, for example, one of the most important traits in domestication is the loss of shattering, or the tendency of seeds to break off the central grain stalk once mature.

The trouble was, it was hard to translate coconut morphology into a plausible evolutionary history.

A tall coconut with niu kafa fruit. The meat of these coconuts, called copra, is often dried, ground and pressed for oil, and their fiber is spun into rope, or coir.

There are two distinctively different forms of the coconut fruit, known as niu kafa and niu vai, Samoan names for traditional Polynesian varieties. The niu kafa form is triangular and oblong with a large fibrous husk. The niu vai form is rounded and contains abundant sweet coconut “water” when unripe.

Dwarf coconuts. Dwarfing suggests domestication, but only 5 percent of the world’s coconuts have the dwarf form.

“Quite often the niu vai fruit are brightly colored when they’re unripe, either bright green, or bright yellow. Sometimes they’re a beautiful gold with reddish tones,” Olsen says.

Coconuts also have been traditionally classified into tall and dwarf varieties based on the tree “habit,” or shape. Most coconuts are talls, but there are also dwarfs that are only several feet tall when they begin reproducing. The dwarfs account for only 5 percent of coconuts.

Dwarfs tend to be used for “eating fresh,” and the tall forms for coconut oil and for fiber.

“Almost all the dwarfs are self-fertilizing and those three traits — being dwarf, having the rounded sweet fruit and being self-pollinating — are thought to be the definitive domestication traits,” Olsen says.

“The traditional argument was that the niu kafa form was the wild, ancestral form that didn’t reflect human selection, in part because it was better adapted to ocean dispersal,” says Olsen. Dwarf trees with niu vai fruits were thought to be the domesticated form.

Kenneth Olsen / A niu kafa fruit adrift on the ocean.

The trouble is it’s messier than that. “You almost always find coconuts near human habitations,” Olsen says, and “while the niu vai is an obvious domestication form, the niu kafa form is also heavily exploited for copra (the dried meat ground and pressed to make oil) and coir (fiber woven into rope).

The coconut in the grocery store is like a cherry pit without the fleshy part. What’s fleshy in the stone fruits like cherries is the fibrous husk of the coconut.

“The lack of universal domestication traits together with the long history of human interaction with coconuts, made it difficult to trace the coconut’s cultivation origins strictly by morphology,” Olsen says.

DNA was a different story.

Collecting coconut DNA
The project got started when Gunn, who had long been interested in palm evolution, and who was then at the Missouri Botanical Garden, contacted Olsen, who had the laboratory facilities needed to study palm DNA.

Together they won a National Geographic Society grant that allowed Gunn to collect coconut DNA in regions of the western Indian Ocean for which there were no data. She sent home in zip-lock bags snippets of leaf tissue from the center of the coconut tree’s crown to be analyzed.

“We had reason to suspect that coconuts from these regions — especially Madagascar and the Comoros Islands — might show evidence of ancient ‘gene flow’ events brought about by ancient Austronesians setting up migration routes and trade routes across the southern Indian Ocean,” Olsen says.

Bee Gunn/National Geographic Society

On the way to sample new leaf tissue from the crown a of coconut tree, an intrepid climber with a knife in his teeth grins at Bee Gunn.

Olsen’s lab genotyped 10 microsatellite regions in each palm sample. Microsatellites are regions of stuttering DNA where the same few nucleotide units are repeated many times. Mutations pop up and persist pretty easily in these regions because they usually don’t affect traits that are important to survival and so aren’t selected against, Olsen says. “So we can use these genetic markers to ‘fingerprint’ the coconut,” he says.

The new collections were combined with a vast dataset that had been established by CIRAD, a French agricultural research center, using the same genetic markers. “These data were being used for things like breeding, but no one had gone through and systematically examined the genetic variation in the context of the history of the plant,” Olsen says.

Two origins of cultivation
The most striking finding of the new DNA analysis is that the Pacific and Indian Ocean coconuts are quite distinct genetically. “About a third of the total genetic diversity can be partitioned between two groups that correspond to the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean,” Olsen says.

“That’s a very high level of differentiation within a single species and provides pretty conclusive evidence that there were two origins of cultivation of the coconut,” he says.

In the Pacific, coconuts likely were first cultivated on islands in Southeast Asia, meaning the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, and perhaps the continent as well. In the Indian Ocean, the likely center of cultivation was the southern periphery of India, including Sri Lanka, the Maldives and the Laccadives.

The definitive domestication traits —the dwarf habit, self-pollination and niu vai fruits — arose only in the Pacific, however, and then only in a small subset of Pacific coconuts, which is why Olsen speaks of origins of cultivation rather than of domestication.

“At least we have it easier than scientists who study animal domestication,” he says. “So much of being a domesticated animal is being tame, and behavioral traits aren’t preserved in the archeological record.”

Did it float or was it carried?
One exception to the general Pacific/Indian Ocean split is the western Indian Ocean, specifically Madagascar and the Comoros Islands, where Gunn had collected the samples. The coconuts there are a genetic mixture of the Indian Ocean type and the Pacific type.

Olsen and his colleagues believe the Pacific coconuts were introduced to the Indian Ocean a couple of thousand years ago by ancient Austronesians establishing trade routes connecting Southeast Asia to Madagascar and coastal east Africa.

Olsen points out that no genetic admixture is found in the more northerly Seychelles, which fall outside the trade route. He adds that a recent study of rice varieties found in Madagascar shows there is a similar mixing of the japonica and indica rice varieties from Southeast Asia and India.

To add to the historical shiver, the descendants of the people who brought the coconuts and rice are still living in Madagascar. The present-day inhabitants of the Madagascar highlands are descendants of the ancient Austronesians, Olsen says.

The scientists were astonished by the amount of structure in the coconut DNA, enough structure to allow them to trace some of the coconuts travels with humans. For a full screen version of this chart, click here.

The Indian Ocean coconut was transported to the New World by Europeans much later. The Portuguese carried coconuts from the Indian Ocean to the West Coast of Africa, Olsen says, and the plantations established there were a source of material that made it into the Caribbean and also to coastal Brazil.

So the coconuts that you find today in Florida are largely the Indian ocean type, Olsen says, which is why they tend to have the niu kafa form.

On the Pacific side of the New World tropics, however, the coconuts are Pacific Ocean coconuts. Some appear to have been transported there in pre-Columbian times by ancient Austronesians moving east rather than west.

During the colonial period, the Spanish brought coconuts to the Pacific coast of Mexico from the Philippines, which was for a time governed on behalf of the King of Spain from Mexico.

This is why, Olsen says, you find Pacific type coconuts on the Pacific coast of Central America and Indian type coconuts on the Atlantic coast.

“The big surprise was that there was so much genetic differentiation clearly correlated with geography, even though humans have been moving coconut around for so long.”

Far from being a mish-mash, coconut DNA preserves a record of human cultivation, voyages of exploration, trade and colonization.


Explore Other Food Features:

Use healthy oils (like olive and canola oil) for cooking, on salad, and at the table. Limit butter. Avoid trans fat.

Drink water, tea, or coffee (with little or no sugar). Limit milk/dairy (1-2 servings/day) and juice (1 small glass/day). Avoid sugary drinks.

The more veggies &mdash and the greater the variety &mdash the better. Potatoes and French fries don’t count.

Eat plenty of fruits of all colors

Choose fish, poultry, beans, and nuts limit red meat and cheese avoid bacon, cold cuts, and other processed meats.

Eat a variety of whole grains (like whole-wheat bread, whole-grain pasta, and brown rice). Limit refined grains (like white rice and white bread).

Incorporate physical activity into your daily routine.

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Explore the downloadable guide with tips and strategies for healthy eating and healthy living.


Coconut and Digestion

Stomachaches after eating coconut could be a sign of fructose intolerance, a condition where your body doesn't properly break down fructose (the naturally-occurring sugar in fruits, some vegetables and honey).

Symptoms of fructose intolerance include diarrhea, gas and abdominal pain. There's no known cure for fructose intolerance, but doctors typically recommend a fructose-restricted diet to manage your symptoms. If you're on a fructose-restricted diet, St. Luke's Hospital says to avoid coconut, coconut milk and coconut cream.

If you do have fructose intolerance, you can try eating small amounts of easily-tolerated fruits with under 2 grams of fructose per serving, such as apricots, nectarines, peaches, raspberries, pineapple and grapefruit.

Try to avoid eating fruit as a stand-alone snack, adding it instead to meals like salads. Find a list of fruits that are harder to tolerate with 5 or more grams of fructose per serving, like dried figs, apples, pears, persimmons and dates, so you know what not to eat.


Coconut crab

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Coconut crab, (Birgus latro), also called robber crab, large nocturnal land crab of the southwest Pacific and Indian oceans. It is closely related to the hermit crab and king crab. All are decapod crustaceans (order Decapoda, class Crustacea). Adult coconut crabs are about 1 metre (40 inches) from leg tip to leg tip and weigh about 4.5 kg (10 pounds). The full-grown adult ranges in colouring from light violet to brown and deep purple. Young adults are brown, with black stripes on their legs.

Coconut crabs are generalist scavengers that feed on fallen fruit, carrion, and (to ingest calcium) the shells of other crabs. The coconut crab is known for its ability to use its massive pincers (chelae) to crack open coconuts. The largest coconut crabs can exert a force of 3,300 newtons (about 742 pound-force) with their pincers. Coconut crabs have also been known to open coconuts by dropping them from trees and striking them repeatedly with their pincers or using their pincers to pierce the coconut’s husk before splitting the seed open.

The female releases her ripe eggs in the sea, and they immediately hatch as microscopic swimming zoeas. This first larval stage, which lives in the water, feeds on small organisms. After 20 to 30 days the zoea develops into a glaucothoe, the intermediate stage, and leaves the water to live in a seashell for three or four weeks. It then discards the shell, buries itself in moist sand, and transforms into a small adult. Most of the daylight hours are passed in burrows up to about 0.6 metre (2 feet) deep, sometimes two crabs to a burrow.

The crabmeat is a local delicacy, and the crab is at risk because of demand for its flesh in some parts of its range.


Coconut palms bring ecological change to tropics, Stanford researchers say

Those graceful coconut palms swaying in tropical breezes are lowering nutrient levels in the soils and the plants around them, thereby altering the eating habits of animals. Researchers say it’s one example of how a change in a plant community can disrupt an entire ecosystem.

Coconut palms, the epitome of South Seas tranquility, turn out to be doing more than just soothing vacationers and inspiring aloha shirts. As they continue to spread to new areas, they are also changing the very landscapes they grace, according to Stanford researchers. Seabirds are shunning the palms as nesting sites, favoring other tree species instead, sending a ripple through island ecosystems.

With the birds has gone the rich cargo of guano that they normally dispense so freely to the earth under their abodes. The absence of that precious input has caused the soil around the palms to become nutritionally deficient.

That, in turn, is lowering the nutritional content of plant species growing around the palms and is causing the creatures that feed on those plants, such as crabs and grasshoppers, to forage elsewhere.

"We found that you can get a five- to twelvefold decline in important soil nutrients such as nitrate and phosphate when coconut palms are present, mainly because the birds aren't there depositing nutrients to that system," said Hillary Young, a doctoral candidate in biology and member of the research team that conducted a study on Palmyra Atoll in the South Pacific. Palmyra lies roughly midway between Hawaii and Tahiti.

A variety of seabirds, including terns, prefer to nest in the native trees.

"This is an unusual example of an introduced or spreading plant that causes wide nutrient declines in ecosystems," Young said. Typically, introduced plants enrich the nutrient content of the ecosystems, she said. Young is first author of a paper describing the study, published online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Just how long the palms have been growing on Palmyra, or how they arrived, isn't clear. Most researchers agree that coconut palms originated in Asia. Coconuts can travel long distances by floating on the ocean currents, but the palm was probably introduced in much of its current range, including areas like Hawaii and the Americas, by early human travelers a few thousand years ago.

The arrival of these early voyagers was often accompanied by introduction of non-native species – such as rats and pigs – but also agricultural plant species. Whether coconuts were brought to Palmyra by oceans or by people, they have clearly proliferated in modern times, and now seem to be causing widespread changes to surrounding plant and animal communities, and the ecosystem as a whole.

Architectural features driving seabirds away?

Young said the seabirds are most likely bypassing the palms on architectural grounds. "The palms have relatively small canopies with spiky, sharp leaves, so I don't think they make particularly good nesting habitat for these birds," she said. The long branchless trunks of the palms also lack the crooks and crannies – features crucial to accommodating nests – that are abundant on most other branching native trees. It is also possible that rats, which climb the palms to feed on young coconuts, may contribute to the seabirds' bypassing of the palms.

Red-footed boobies form the largest contingent of forest-dwelling seabirds on Palmyra, but black and brown noddies, terns and frigate birds also nest in the atoll's forests.

"Most of these birds are also colonial species, so they like to nest in large groups," she said. "If you think about it, the coconut palm only has space for maybe one or two nests."

Young and her colleagues, including senior author Rodolfo Dirzo, professor of biology, compared the nutrient content of several species of native trees favored by the seabirds, as well as the coconut palms, on some of the different islets that make up the atoll. The islets are typically dominated either by the palms or by native trees, with relatively few mixed species forests.

Seabirds are shunning coconut palms as nesting sites, sending a ripple through island ecosystems.

"Being able to conduct our studies on multiple islets sharing the same general ecological conditions, but with different forest types, was an ideal experimental setup to investigate the cascading ecological consequences of invasive or spreading plants – currently a serious global environmental problem," said Dirzo, the Bing Professor in Environmental Science.

"All of the tree species we analyzed showed these nutrient changes," Young said. "Whenever coconuts are present, the nutrient levels decline in the leaves of each species." Even the palms themselves had lower nutrient levels when growing in a palm forest than when they grew in mixed or native-dominated forests. "Coconut palms don't increase nutrient levels of anything," she said.

But the nutrient levels of the tree leaves themselves were not as dramatically different as the levels in the soils. That made the researchers wonder how much effect even a small difference in nutrients in the leaves might have on the creatures that dine on them. In search of an answer, the researchers conducted a taste test.

Taste testing the leaves

For tasters they chose some strawberry hermit crabs and longhorned grasshoppers, species that are widely distributed across the atoll.

"We would put a crab in a bucket and offer it two different leaves," Young said. In each test, the researchers used two leaves from the same plant species, but one leaf was from a specimen growing in a coconut palm forest, the other from a tree in a forest dominated by native trees favored by the seabirds. They used the same approach with the grasshopper tasters, but placed them in yogurt containers rather than buckets.

"You couldn't tell anything was different between these two leaves we had to mark them as to what type of forest they came from," Young said. After leaving the taster alone with both leaves for 24 hours, the researchers would measure the change in the size of each leaf.

"I was shocked at the results," Young said. "There was dramatically higher consumption of leaves that came from plants in native forests, even though they were the same species from the same atoll."

That was true even for leaves where the difference in nutrient levels only differed by 10 percent, she said. "Nutrient levels are so important to these herbivores that they can detect that and select for only those leaves that have high nutrient levels. It was really impressive."

The researchers also assessed differences in leaf consumption in the field, using two different methods, each of which also indicated herbivores on the atoll had a profound preference for leaves of trees growing in forests dominated by the native trees. The field findings were consistent with the results of the taste tests, all of which showed that levels of leaf consumption by herbivores is reduced in coconut-dominated forests and that nutrient depletion driven by the spread of coconut palms ripples through the ecosystem's food chain.

Seabirds like the booby spread nutrients to land ecosystems.

"Seabirds can move a large amount of nutrients to land ecosystems and those movements, if you disrupt them, can have a lot of impacts on the ecosystem where the seabirds live," Young said.

Beloved icon or omen of environmental issues?

"The coconut palm is this iconic tree that is everywhere in the tropical world and we all love it, but this study suggests they are actually having deleterious effects on ecosystems where they become dominant," Young said, noting this could have serious ramifications for managing areas similar to Palmyra.

The atoll hasn't seen much impact from humans since 1961, when the United States military ended the occupation it began during World War II, and Palmyra is now part of a National Wildlife Refuge. But elsewhere, she said, coconut palms are still being planted as a crop to spur development, because they are such a useful resource, providing food, drink and raw material for uses ranging from making rope to roofing.

"I'm just suggesting that maybe we want to step back and think a little bit about what ecological impacts coconut palms might have," Young said.

Broader implications beyond the atolls

But Young said the broader implication from the study is that changes in plant communities change connections among ecosystems. "Since humans are changing plant communities the world over in a myriad of ways – invasive species, land use change, resource extractions – it is critical to realize that changes to these plant communities are not isolated," she said. "An apparently innocuous change to these plant communities can disrupt invisible connections among ecosystems and potentially trigger a cascade of change that can fundamentally alter those ecosystems."

Once these changes have happened, it can be difficult or even impossible to repair the damage, she said. "The emphasis needs to be on protecting native plant communities and preventing damaging disruptions from happening in the first place."

Rob Dunbar, the W. M. Keck Professor in Environmental Earth System Science and senior fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment, and Douglas McCauley, doctoral candidate at Stanford's Hopkins Marine Station, are also authors of the PNAS paper.

The research was funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Geographic Society. The Stanford Vice Provost's Undergraduate and Field Studies Program provided financial support for 11 undergraduate students who assisted with the fieldwork on Palmyra.


Coconut Octopus Shelter And Stilt On Shells

Wikimedia Commons The coconut octopus uses halved coconuts and sea shells as makeshift armor.

If you ever find yourself swimming at the bottom of the western Pacific Ocean, make sure you pay close attention to what is happening on the sea floor. If you are lucky, you might spot a coconut octopus in action.

This stunning cephalopod — known by its latin name Amphioctopus marginatus — is one of 300 species of octopus that have been recorded and described by scientists so far. Like most octopus species, the coconut octopus has a soft body that consists of its head and eight tentacles which it uses to swim, eat, and do other activities.

But the coconut octopus has a distinct behavior that separates it from its other eight-tentacle brethren and inspired the animal’s silly moniker. In fact, this sea creature displays a couple of atypical behavior for invertebrates, including the use of coconuts and shells as makeshift tools.

Indeed, the coconut octopus is known to collect coconut shells or sea shells on the sea bed and uses the pieces to protect itself. This octopus species typically grows up to six inches long, including the length of its tentacles, making the empty cocoons of halved coconuts and sea shells the perfect hiding spot.

As a whole, octopus are known to be highly-intelligent creatures. But while it is common for them to use foreign objects as temporary shelters, it is unusual for an animal to hang on to an object for later use as the coconut octopus does with its shells. Once a coconut octopus selects a coconut shell that it likes, it will carry the shell around with it until the sea creature is ready to use it again.

The coconut octopus’ save-it-for-later approach suggests advance planning on the part of the creature which by extension also suggests a level of intelligence that is not typically expected from animals besides humans.

Apart from the obvious advantage of having a solid armor piece, the coconut or sea shell also acts as a booby trap for prey.

The coconut octopus will hide inside its makeshift protection as its prey approaches, and pounce out at the right moment to capture its meal. The coconut octopus — which is sometimes referred to as the veined octopus — enjoys a diet of various crustaceans, like crabs, clams, and shrimp.

When the octopus is not using the shell, it will wrap its tentacles around the concave object and use the rest of its tentacles to move about, as if stilt-walking.

This peculiar method in its movement across the sea floor makes it appear almost bipedal as it carries its shell-made shelter and scurries about. It is evidence of another unusual behavior among invertebrates that is only found among this particular species of cephalopod.


How Do Coconut Trees Reproduce?

Coconuts reproduce by dropping their fruit on the ground. When the coconut ends up in the ground, in the right environment, it produces a seedling that eventually grows up to become a coconut tree on its own, assuming that the conditions are favorable.

One side of the coconut features a point, and while people and other animals pick up quite a few of the coconuts that fall out of trees, others remain on the ground, and the point eventually is at the lower end of the coconut, thanks to the work of gravity. As cycles of rain and sun continue, and the soil shifts, the coconut eventually ends up with the point below the ground and at least half of the coconut below the level of the soil.

At this point, the growth process starts inside the coconut, and eventually a seedling appears from the top. Over time, the seedling grows, turning into a tree over the course of weeks and months. The coconut tree reproduces in a manner similar to many other fruit trees, dropping the instruments of later generations each time a coconut ends up breaking off from the branches and making the long fall to the ground below.


Watch the video: Ako Otvoriť Kokos (June 2022).


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