Octopuses are a fascinating species that ranks amongst the most mysterious and intelligent of all invertebrates.
They are also loners, preferring to spend their usually short lives in isolation.
There is an exception to this rule, it seems, as fifty feet below the surface in Jervis Bay, Australia, marine biologists have observed what appears to be an underwater city built by octopuses.
The area in question is barely a few square meters wide, and has been dubbed Octopolis due to the unusual octopus activity observed there.
Groups of local gloomy octopus (Octopus tetricus) are regularly seen congregating in Octopolis, sometimes fighting for control of a small patch of seabed, and other times mating around their little plot of underwater real state.
This rather gregarious behavior is highly unusual for a species that prefers solitude, so it has piqued the curiosity of the scientific community.
Octopolis seemingly started life as a man-made object stuck at the bottom of the bay. It soon became covered in clams and other debris apparently brought by the animals themselves, forming a town center of sorts for the gloomy octopus. Soon, Octopolis became a hub of social activity.
The cephalopods have even been observed hurling objects at each other using water jets blasted from a siphon-like organ in their bodies, in an apparent effort to protect their own turf. Few species outside apes are able to intentionally use items as missiles.
And it appears that Octopolis is not the only underwater city built by gloomy octopuses. A nearby site has also been erected using scallop shells and other maritime debris, in an apparent effort to form a defensive structure against sharks and other predators.
Whatever the purpose may be, this is yet another fascinating facet of a highly intelligent and always surprising creature.