By Federico Cornetto
A photographer captured extremely rare images of an octopus in one of Venice’s canals amid the COVID-19 lockdown.
Stefano Bandini filmed the exceptional images in Piazzale Roma, one of the main squares of the Italian city on April 24, as the country was still in a strict lockdown due to COVID-19.
A large octopus was filmed hanging around the shallow waters close to a dock, seemingly unfazed by the presence of Stefano and other people.
The video was sent to the Ecologia del Benthos group, an Italian research organisation which studies marine biodiversity, who have confirmed this was a unique sighting.
Ecologia del Benthos’ Irene Guarnieri said: “Octopuses are present in the Venetian Lagoon, but are very rare.
“The appearance of this specimen certainly has to do with the absence of boat traffic due to the lockdown.”
Director of Venice’s Natural History Museum, Luca Mizzan said: “It’s very strange that an octopus could get there, in an environment so far from the sea and close to the mainland.
“From the video you can tell it’s a healthy octopus and that it isn’t scared.”