Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Many Guises of the Mimic Octopus

Say hello to the ocean's master of disguise: Thaumoctopus mimicus. First sighted off Sulawesi, Indonesia in 1998, the mimic octopus's range has since been established in waters throughout Indonesia, Malaysia, and parts of Australia's Great Barrier reef. This harmless creature prefers silty, mud bottoms, where it forages for prey such as small fish and crabs. The mimic octopus is covered in bands of dark pigment, which it can intesify or fade at will by flexing millions of tiny muscles in its skin. Like most other octopi, it can dull its color to blend in with the seafloor.
But if spotted or cornered by a predator, the mimic octopus flashes its stripes and imitates one of several poisonous creatures: Top to bottom: sole/flatfish, lionfish, banded sea snake
Below: jellyfish
Below: stingray

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