This is what an octopus city looks like (video)

octopus city
© Peter Godfrey-Smith/University of Chicago

The recent discovery of 'Octlantis' defies the theory that octopuses are loners; now video footage shows the goings-on at the cephalopod city.

Octopuses. They run on two legs, they escape from aquariums through drain pipes to the sea, they get out of the water and ramble about on rocks. And now, in a surprise to biologists, they gather and live in octopus cities.

A new study confirms the findings of a previous one; that while the eight-legged beauties were thought to be solitary creatures, they can actually be found living together and exhibiting complex social behaviors.

The scientists discovered the underwater "octopus city" off the coast of Australia in Jervis Bay; they've named it "Octlantis." The study authors write:

The present site was occupied by 10–15 octopuses on eight different days. We recorded frequent interactions, signaling, mating, mate defense, eviction of octopuses from dens, and attempts to exclude individuals from the site. These observations demonstrate that high-density occupation and complex social behaviors are not unique to the earlier described site, which had been affected to some extent by remains of human activity. Behavior at this second site confirms that complex social interactions also occur in association with natural substrate, and suggest that social interactions are more wide spread among octopuses than previously recognized.

There is still so much to understand about octopus behavior – they are brilliant creatures, but perhaps the most "other" of all. The study doesn't speculate much on the meaning behind the findings. Is it new behavior? What is the advantage? Is it as rare is it seems? The study really ended up asking more questions than it answered. Which is why, despite my obsession with octopuses and the catchy name of Octlantis and the deliciously appealing common name of the species, gloomy octopus ... I chose not to write about it initially.

But now ... now there is video! And it's pretty glorious. So go ahead and read the study for more background, or cut to the chase and enjoy the clips below.

Via Business Insider

Tags: Animals | Oceans

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