Feb 1

We’ve asked conservation organisations around the world to nominate a species that they believe to be overlooked, underappreciated and unloved, and tell us why they think that they deserve a fair share of the limelight, this Valentine’s Day.

Each nominee’s story is featured on the Arkive blog with information on the species, what makes them so special, the conservation organisation that nominated them and how they are working to save them from extinction.

Click the ‘unloved species’ tag above to see all of the nominations and their blogs.

Once you have perused the blogs you can vote for your favourite to help get them into the top ten unloved species and get them the recognition that they truly deserve! Share your favourite with others using the #LoveSpecies hashtag on Twitter and Facebook and tell them why they should vote for them too. Voting closes on February 14th at 23:59 PST (07:59 GMT).

Join us and our conservation partners in celebrating and raising awareness for some of the world’s most unloved species this Valentine’s Day!

Species: Common octopus

Nominated by: Sea-Change Project

Conservation status: There is the potential for the overfishing of these animals, which threatens their proliferation. They are not at specific risk, but removal of large quantities has effected many important predators that rely on octopus for food.

Why do you love it? Octopus vulgaris only live for about 12 to 15 months depending on water temperature. Its super intelligence is partly instinctive, partly learned. They can make judgements based on visual, tactile, and chemical cues and their ability to conceal themselves on any substrate by changing colour, skin, texture, posture and brightness is challenged by few other animal species.

What are the threats to the common octopus? Octopus vulgaris is one of the most common octopus species commercially fished for food and for the aquarium trade.

What are you doing to save it? Over a period of four years diving almost daily, filmmaker and citizen scientist Craig Foster has watched these animals in three different ways, firstly by hiding behind kelp and watching them, setting up remote cameras (often outside their dens) and watching the footage afterwards and presenting himself as a predator in the forest, before taking photographs of their defensive response. Most of the octopuses he encountered seemed afraid and generally camouflaged themselves. When they realised they had been seen, they tried to threaten him by jetting water at him or displaying threat postures, then walking or swimming away, occasionally squirting ink if Craig got too close. A few individuals have behaved in quite the opposite manner, instead of fleeing they approached Craig and grabbed onto his hand with all their tentacles.

Even when he had to swim to the surface to get air they kept holding on and rode on his hand to the surface, eventually letting go. Craig has never been bitten or felt threatened. Vulgaris are too small to pose a threat to humans, but their bite is venomous.

In the past two years Craig has observed some unusual behaviour which to the best of our knowledge has not been documented before.

Find out more about the Sea-Change Project

Discover more Cephalopod species on Arkive