Although the so-called “gloomy octopus” has the reputation of being a loner, 15 such octopuses make up the population of a “city” scientists have dubbed as “Octlantis.” And reports suggest that the cephalopods in this area exhibit a lot of behaviors that aren’t unlike our own social interactions as humans.
According to a report from Techly, the “octopus city” can be found in eastern Australia’s Jervis Bay, where 15 common Sydney octopuses, or “gloomy octopuses,” engage in complex social behaviors, contrary to their known status as creatures who don’t interact much with their own kind. The scientists observed the animals’ behavior by leaving cameras at the area, tracking them for eight days and debunking the old “loner” theories.
Based on the researchers’ findings, the residents of Octlantis are able to hang out and meet up with each other, and even “hook up,” showing the ability to communicate and socialize. On the negative side of things, however, the octopuses were also observed getting into fights, with one of the creatures evicting another from its den.
Techly noted that Octlantis isn’t the first octopus city to be discovered by scientists. In 2009, researchers found a similar city which was dubbed “Octopolis” and located in “fairly close proximity” to the newly-discovered area. In both areas, the octopus residents exhibited complex social behaviors on a regular basis, including the aforementioned negative behaviors of fighting. Interestingly, the fights in Octopolis were so serious that one of them seemed to involve the use of shells as a weapon.
“At both sites, the octopuses engage in frequent and complex social behaviors that are unusual for many species of octopus,” the researchers observed.
“The discovery reported here of the second site underscores that the first site was not a unique result of a human artifact that apparently provided the nucleus for the formation of the original site.”
The research on Octopolis may have suggested that octopuses can use shells as weapons when fighting. But the two studies, according to The Guardian, revealed that the octopuses in both underwater cities are capable of using clam and scallop shells for more productive things, such as the creation of dens. Using the shells of the smaller animals they consumed, the octopuses had sculpted these remains into shelters for themselves, establishing them as “true environmental engineers,” as Octlantis study co-author Stephanie Chancellor noted.
The examples of Octopolis and Octlantis aren’t the only examples of why octopuses are such smart animals. Earlier this year, reports suggested that octopuses can edit their own RNA in order to help them adapt to new environments. The Inquisitr had pointed out at that time that this might have been the reason why octopuses such as Inky, the octopus that had made an unbelievable escape from the National Aquarium of New Zealand in 2016, are unusually smart compared to other creatures in the animal kingdom.
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