Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Hitchhiker!



This remarkable series of photographs (more here) was captured a week ago off the Greek island of Kálamos (Κάλαμος,) by Joan Gonzalvo, who heads the Ionian Dolphin Project. That is an octopus clinging to the bottlenose dolphin's underside. Gonsalvo titles his blogpost “Naughty octopus” because the beast had latched onto the dolphin's genital slit.* He and his team had spotted the "unexpected guest" when one of the dolphins they were watching suddenly leapt out of the water, but weren't able to identify it until they saw the photos. “I have never seen anything like this. My hypothesis is that the dolphin might have attacked – tried to prey on the octopus – and somehow to avoid it the octopus just attached to the dolphin’s belly,” says Gonsalvo, who reasons that the dolphin was jumping in an attempt to free itself of the octopus. It succeeded and took off as if nothing had happened.

*The reproductive organs of both male and female dolphins are hidden within, contrary to what the headlines would lead you to believe.

Thanks to my sister for bringing this to my attention even before I saw it in the weird news!
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Previous posts about one of my favorite creatures:

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