Creatures seen using discarded items for shelter or to lay eggs, highlighting ‘extreme ability to adapt’
Whether it’s mimicking venomous creatures, or shooting jets of water at aquarium light switches to turn them off, octopuses are nothing if not resourceful. Now, an analysis of underwater images suggests octopuses are increasingly using discarded bottles, cans, and other human rubbish as shelter or as a sanctuary for their eggs.
The study – the first to systematically evaluate and characterise litter use by octopuses using crowdsourced images – analysed hundreds of underwater photos posted on social media platforms and image databases, or collected by marine biologists and diving interest groups.
The research, published in Marine Pollution Bulletin, documented 24 species of octopus sheltering inside glass bottles, cans, and even an old battery; burying themselves under a mixture of bottle tops and seashells; even carrying plastic items around while “stilt-walking” on two tentacles, to conceal themselves from predators…
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