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A giant Pacific octopus called Lucy is on the verge of solving an ingenious set of underwater puzzles at the Blue Reef Aquarium in Portsmouth.
The giant cephalopod, which has a two-metre arm span, has already learned how to unscrew jars to get at tasty morsels hidden inside.
In a bid to find out just how intelligent she really is, aquarists have now given her a series of more complicated puzzles.
Inventor of the ‘octopuzzles’ aquarist Fiona Snowdon has designed a series of increasingly difficult tests which Lucy must solve to get at the food inside.
Manager at the Blue Reef Aquarium, Lindsay Holloway, explained:
"The octopuzzles have been designed as part of an ongoing environmental enrichment programme for Lucy.
“The first puzzle was a long plastic tube with her food in one end and a series of obstacles in the way that she must remove.
“At first it took her 45 minutes to solve but now she is able to get to the food in a matter of minutes.
“The next puzzle involves a sealed jar placed inside a second container. Lucy will have to undo both to get the treats inside,” he added.
Giant Pacific Octopus are the world’s largest species of octopus and are found from Japan to Southern California. The biggest
recorded specimen had an arm span of 10 metres (33ft) and weighed 270kgs (600lbs).
As well as being the largest, the giant Pacific is also among the cleverest members of the cephalopod family. Individuals living in aquariums have been filmed sneaking out at night to raid nearby fish-filled displays.
They mature incredibly quickly - going from the size of a rice grain at birth to being fully grown within the space of two years.