A newly discovered “octopus city” is causing a stir among marine scientists and nature enthusiasts.
Alaska Pacific University professor David Schell and a team of researchers recently found a colony of gloomy octopuses (also known as common Sydney octopuses) living together in Jervis Bay near Eastern Australia. The finding, published in the Marine and Freshwater Behavior and Physiology, supports other emerging science suggesting octopuses might not be the solitary creatures we thought them to be.
The city—adorably dubbed Octlantis by the researchers—isn’t far from Octoplis, the first such octopus colony discovered back in 2009. If that doesn’t sound like a setup for a Pixar movie, we don’t know what does.
Researchers aren’t sure if these colonies are more common than we thought, or if they’re rare deviations from typical octopus behavior. The 15 octopuses that live in Octlantis seems willing congregate, though preliminary observations suggest urban life can be tough. Male octopuses exhibit aggressive behavior, chasing each other from dens constructed from discarded clam and scallop shells. All the octo-activity can also attract predators.
Schell told Quartz it will take more study for scientists to understand the dynamics of the octopus cities. Until then, we’ll be waiting for Pixar to get to work on that screenplay.