A large group of octopuses have been discovered living together off the east coast of Australia. The ways they communicate include changing colour and posturing, scientists have found.
(From International Business Times / by Martha Henriques) — Octopuses are known for leading solitary lives, only coming into contact with one another for the necessity of mating. But a growing number of octopus ‘settlements’, or groups, have been discovered.
The settlement off eastern Australia is only the second large group of gloomy octopuses living together, described in a study in the journal Marine and Freshwater Behaviour and Physiology.
“At both sites there were features that we think may have made the congregation possible – namely several seafloor rock outcroppings dotting an otherwise flat and featureless area,” said study author Stephanie Chancellor of the University of Illinois at Chicago.
The octopuses had made the outcroppings their own. They built up piles of shells from clams and scallops around the settlement.
“These shell piles, or middens, were further sculpted to create dens, making these octopuses true environmental engineers,” said Chancellor.
The animals resided very close to each other, often within reach of one another’s tentacles. However, they often weren’t particularly friendly in their interactions.