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Does Octlantis Exist?

A city beneath the sea sounds like something out of fantasy, but Australian scientists found something truly amazing beneath the waters of Jervis Bay! Read on to learn more about the secret city of Octlantis!

When you imagine a city beneath the sea, what image comes to mind? Crumbling statues shellacked with barnacles, holding silent vigil over marble towers? The faint shadow of mermaids flitting through towers of cultivated reefs?

Or maybe you’re imagining something from a Lovecraftian horror story, black basalt towers etched with alien sigils housing dead-dreaming gods!

What if you were told that there really was an underwater city? One that was home to dueling octopus? Does Octlantis really exist?

Believe it or not, such a thing is real, albeit not exactly the way you might imagine it…

We built this city on rocks and shoals!

Before we can talk about this city made of rocks and scallop shells, we should learn a little about the ones who live there.

Enter the Gloomy Octopus or Octopus tetricus. These dourly-named guys could be found in the waters off the coast of Australia.

Gloomy Octopus (Octopus tetricus) Sydney Harbour, Australia
Gloomy Octopus (Octopus tetricus) Sydney Harbour, Australia

While not as flashy (or as toxic) as other, more well-known Australian octopus species (like the Blue-Ringed Octopus), the Gloomy Octopus has some surprises of its own.

greater blue-ringed octopus
Blue-Ringed Octopus

For a while, scientists believed them to be solitary. But in Jervis Bay, Australia, an amazing discovery showed that these squishy sea goths were anything but lonely. Scientists discovered a series of octopus dens in close proximity to one another. And in each den was a Gloomy Octopus!

This little city-in-the-sea was lovingly dubbed Octlantis!

So, does Octlantis exist? Yes, it does!

However, don’t expect any friendly octopus hangouts in this town.

After observing their behavior, scientists learned that Gloomy Octopus were so annoyed to be living close to one another they would purposely take aim and throw projectiles at one another like silt, algae, and shells!

“Okay…now it’s personal!” Gloomy Octopus seemingly walks over to discard debris

Turns out, Gloomy octopus would much prefer to be solitary but were forced to co-habitat due to limited housing in the surrounding sandy area. 

“Ugh. This place is a mess! Keep all your arms to yourself!”

Wait… there’s another Octo-City?

That’s not the only underwater city where Gloomy Octopuses have taken up residence!

Not far from Octlantis that is ANOTHER city, fondly referred to as Octopolis. This city is completely made out of discarded scallop shells but sees the same unneighborly behavior as is rampant in Octlantis. 

“And for my next trick…I’ll make this octopus disappear in a cloud of silt, WhoOsh!”

Dang – They’re street smart

Okay, so it’s not exactly mermaids or sleeping alien gods. But the fact that these octopuses were able to tolerate one another enough to create a small society with complex interactions shows that we’re only just beginning to scratch the surface when it comes to octopus behavior.

It seems like every day, octopus find new ways to surprise us.

Did You Know? We’ve learned that octopuses are more than meets the eye. But did you know that some octopuses are actually transformers? Check out everything you need to know about the Mimic Octopus!

Mimic Octopus in the Red Sea.

If you want to educate yourself some more about all sorts of different cephalopods, take a look at our encyclopedia. Or, what we call it, our Octopedia!

Connect with other octopus lovers via the OctoNation Facebook group, OctopusFanClub.com! Make sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram to keep up to date with the conservation, education, and ongoing research of cephalopods.

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