In case you needed a reminder that the octopus is one of the smartest underwater creatures, here’s some news: they actually build their own cities.
Scientists have recently discovered a site in Australia’s Jervis Bay where the species octopus tetricus has been congregating, communicating with one another, and in some instances actually evicting octopuses from the site. And this goes against the long-believed notion that these octopuses are “loners.”
The scientists adorably named the little site, which included 15 octopuses, “Octlantis.” It’s reminiscent of another site found in 2009 in Australia dubbed “Octopolis,” which included a group of octopuses living around a large, metal object. Scientists believed the creatures (which could be two to 16 octopuses at a time) possibly stayed there because the object offered them protection.
But there’s no similar metal structure in Octlantis, which means this behavior might be more common than originally thought. “These behaviours are the product of natural selection, and may be remarkably similar to vertebrate complex social behaviour,” wrote Professor David Scheel, who led the research on Octlantis. And if you think these octopuses love living together, think again. There’s reportedly a lot of aggression in these mini underwater cities and male octopuses often kick each other out of their homes.
I wonder what the “I’m Leaving Octopolis” essays are like?