Spectacular photographs of animal behavior, perhaps never recorded before, were captured by Spanish scientist Joan Gonzalvo Villegas of Barcelona. While studying dolphins off the western shore of Greece for research towards his doctorate, Gonzalvo Villegas shot an incredible series of photographs that showed a bottlenose dolphin leaping out of the Mediterranean with an octopus firmly attached to its underside above the tail. Speaking to New Scientist, the scientist said "I have never seen anything like this." The researcher for the Ionian Dolphin Project added, "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."
Gonzalvo Villegas posted a description of the dolphin-octopus duo on the Dolphin Project blog with the headline, "Naughty octopus," since it appear that the eight-armed cephalopod had attached itself to the dolphin’s genital area. He wrote that the dolphin was one of four in a pod swimming near the island of Kalamos in the Ionian Sea. "Right on the spot we were not sure about what exactly was hanging from the dolphin's belly," Gonzalvo wrote. "What was our surprise when we examined the photos and discovered that naughty octopus!"
Finally, the dolphin was able to shake the octopus loose and return to its pod, presumably without injury.
The Dolphin Project is administered by the Tethys Research Institute. The institute is a nonprofit organization that, according to its website seeks to study and promote the conservation of the marine environment. It offers research expeditions to study cetacean populations in the Mediterranean.