Octopuses are among the most intelligent species in the animal kingdom. In total, an octopus has 500 million neurons, located in both its brain and throughout its arms. In addition to grabbing onto prey and climbing rocky underwater structures, an octopus uses its suckers to taste and sense.
What is a gyre? And how does this natural phenomenon demonstrate the impact of our plastic trash? Anna Cummins and Marcus Eriksen of 5 Gyres Institute explain how we can understand the international issue while acting locally:
"It is impractical to try and scoop out trash out of the ocean. What we can do is wait for it to wash ashore. So to clean a gyre, clean your beach, clean your watershed, clean your street. As close as you can get to the source, is a better way we can solve the problem of plastics in the ocean"
"As people have seen this image, I have been getting a lot of messages in my inbox and phone calls asking me “is this photo real?” And “how did you congregate all these fish in one place to take the photo?”
"My response to these questions has been this — of course it is real. Fish, as is the case with many other animals, have certain behaviors that they perform when they reproduce. For example, when monarch butterflies mate they travel hundreds of thousands of kilometers, crossing from Canada down through Mexico to form unbelievable congregations. Sea turtles also have unique reproduction behavior —some travel the entire Pacific just to return to the beaches where they originally hatched. Birds fly hundreds of kilometers to certain areas to nest as well. These behaviors are well known within terrestrial animals and within the scientific community we have also known of these behaviors with fish and other marine creatures for many years. In Cabo Pulmo for example, blacktip reef sharks and mobula rays also congregate in large numbers to mate during the winter season.
"Even after I explain this unique behavior and the spectacular spawning aggregations of fish that occur naturally, some people don’t believe this image is real.
"In some ways I think this photo, and others like it, force people to think about the environment and more specifically in this case the ocean, dwindling fish populations the health of marine ecosystems worldwide and our role in it all."
This small, scrappy fish found along the Pacific Coast from San Francisco to Baja California, Mexico, maintains a relatively small zone of personal space around its home, usually a shell, a can or a bottle. When an intruder invades that space, the fringehead attacks fearlessly and aggressively, baring its teeth and snapping its jaws…
Why invest so much time and energy into keeping away unwanted solicitations? Because in the fringehead’s preferred habitat — on sandy or muddy ocean bottoms just beyond the breaker zone — competition for resources is fierce. To ensure they get their fair share of food and space, fringeheads stake out a territory that they can realistically defend… Some scientists estimate they consume almost 14 times their body weight per year.