Movie: Octopus Lure, Fiji

Dr. Roderick Ewins tells us about a Fijian Octopus Lure

© Australian Museum and Dr Roderick Ewins
Finton Mahony
Dr Roderick Ewins



Rod Ewins:

But when the old occy grabs onto that and puts his tentacles around it, or his legs around it, all ready to eat it, you just gently pull him up to the surface, and then grab him.

Hi, I’m Rod Ewins. I’m a material culture researcher, mainly focussed on Fijian material culture.

They get on - they put their little tentacles around the cowrie and they wait for him to put his foot out, and then they bite him - pull him out.

Melanie Van Olffen:   Oh, okay, so we thought it may have resembled a rat, because some really have…

Rod Ewins:                That’s true, you’re quite right…

Melanie Van Olffen:   I mean, the tail…

Rod Ewins:                …yes, they do have a rat’s tail, yes they do. But…

Melanie Van Olffen:    …and we have a Tongan one that has, even like little bits sticking out, as if…

Rod Ewins:                But I - that’s right, no they were. They were to resemble rats. You’re quite right. That was what the humans liked…

Melanie Van Olffen:   Okay.

Rod Ewins:                 …what the octopus liked was cowries. [Laughs]

Melanie Van Olffen:    Yes, yes, yes, oh okay. Yes.

Rod Ewins:                So I don’t think it was - there’s not all that many rats happen on the menu for octopuses, I would imagine. [Laughs]

Melanie Van Olffen:   Yes, yes, that’s a problem…

Rod Ewins:                But when you’d made one, you’d think, oh it’s like a rat, so you put a tail on it, and so on…


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Tags finton, roderick ewins, fiji, cowery, shell, coconut, fishing, octopus, lure, make feke, cuttle fish, tonga,