octlantis

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As its name suggests, the gloomy octopus doesn’t tend to be the life of the party. The octopus (Octopus tetricus) tends to keep to itself and avoids interactions with other octopuses unless mating. During the day, they retreat into their dens, which they often block with rocks. But a new study published is upending our understanding of these creatures. In findings reported in the journal Marine and Freshwater Behaviour and Physiology, scientists observed a site off the coast of Australia where 15 gloomy octopuses communicated and lived together. The site has been dubbed “Octlantis.”

The researchers captured mating, signs of aggression, chasing, and other signaling behavior on their video footage. “Some of the octopuses were seen evicting other animals from their dens. There were some apparent threat displays where an animal would stretch itself out lengthwise in an ‘upright’ posture and its mantle would darken. Often another animal observing this behavior would quickly swim away,” said Stephanie Chancellor, a Ph.D. student in biological sciences at the University of Illinois and an author of the paper.

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