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Octopuses are building underwater cities in the ocean near Australia

Published Jun 16th, 2023 7:30PM EDT
octopus in aquarium
Image: Costy / Adobe

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Octopuses are extremely intelligent creatures; so intelligent that some scientists are convinced octopuses are alien. Now, though, these intriguing creatures have done something surprising; they’ve built entire octopus cities off the coast of Eastern Australia.

These cities aren’t just astounding because of their creation, but also because of how they change what we know about octopuses, too. For starters, it was always believed that these tentacled creatures were loners, with jokes about whether they would mate or eat the other being made when talking about two octopuses meeting for the first time.

With this new discovery, though, scientists have revealed that not only are octopuses capable of building their own little cities, but they’re also possibly drawn to group up in the ocean, too. The researchers who made the discovery say that the octopuses used rock outcroppings as well as piles of shells to build up their little cities.

An octopus on the sea floor
An octopus on the sea floor. Image source: Andrea Izzotti/Adobe

From there, the octopuses sculpted their cities using the shell piles, otherwise known as middens. The researchers say that the outcroppings and other features of the seafloor at the two locations are most likely what helped make these octopus cities possible. The first site was observed back in 2009 in Jervis Bay, an area off the eastern coast of Australia. The site was described in a 2009 paper.

The scientists who discovered it named that location Octopolis, and it was found to have at least 16 different animals interacting with the location. Just a few hundred meters away, another site which was dubbed Octlantis was discovered. This one showed a total of 13 occupied octopus dens, with ten more unoccupied at the time.

The researchers dove down to the octopus cities using GoPro cameras to capture them. They recorded around 10 hours of footage while filming one day, and simply watched as the inhabitants of the area interacted with one another. This discovery is extremely intriguing and only helps to showcase how little we know about the wildlife that calls our oceans home.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.