Diver Pall Sigurdsson and his companions came upon a tiny veined/coconut octopus living inside a plastic cup while exploring the seas off Lembeh, Indonesia.
Sigurdsson was quite worried about the octopus’ safety inside the flexible plastic container, despite the fact that these particular cephalopods are known for building protective shelters out of shells and other found objects, such as coconut shells.
Even though a shell offers strong defense, a passing eel or flounder would likely swallow the cup containing the octopus, killing or weakening the predator in the process so that it can be quickly consumed by a larger fish.
Sigurdsson and his companions spent a significant portion of their dive time searching for a new shell rather than abandoning the octopus to an unjust fate. The octopus responded only after the ideal shell was found after repeated attempts.
They discovered this specific octopus at a depth of around 20 meters, and we attempted for a very long period to give it shells with the hope that it would trade the shell.
Because coconut octopuses are very finicky about the shells they keep, they had to try a variety of shells before it settled on one.