California is a special place when it comes to advances in environmental protection and efforts to reduce carbon footprint. However, it can be hard sometimes to know if the efforts are paying off. Oftentimes, the answer comes from Mother Nature herself. That might be exactly what we’ve got as the largest Octopus nursery in the world was recently discovered off the coast of California.
Divers found a group of the animals measuring more than 1,000 in number. The majoring of them were mothers, indicating that the area was likely the biggest deep-sea nursery of its kind. They’re thought to be the Muusoctopus robustus species, because of their size and the pinkish-purple color. The find is pretty unique, and not just because of the size of the group.
If the animals are indeed Muusoctopus robustus, the find is remarkable because members of that particular species tend to be most comfortable on their own, so finding them in a group—especially one as large as the one found in California—is extremely rare. Furthermore, this particular species had never been spotted on the West Coast of the United States before.
Scientists believe that the octopi wound up in the area because they were seeking warm waters in which to lay their eggs. This is also a strange phenomenon because normally deep-sea creatures like this prefer to lay their eggs in cold water. Research has yet to reveal exactly why the animals chose to come into warmer waters to establish the nursery.
Earlier this year, a similar nursery was found off the coast of Costa Rica. The seafloor in this area had warm water jetting out of cracks above underwater lava flows. Scientists were collecting water samples when they discovered the creatures among the rocks, most of whom were full of eggs.
Some theories suggest that this particular breed of octopus has moved into warmer waters and gathered in such large groups because of overpopulation. Their traditional nurseries might simply be too full to sustain the number of offspring that’s on the horizon. That alone begs the question of what other species might make the same move?