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Sunday, July 13, 2014

Master of disguise

After field work this morning, Eric's sharp eyes spotted something interesting below a boulder:


It might be hard to identify at first, but did you find the small octopus in the center of the image?  It's camouflaged like a rock.  The overall color of the octopus is brown, somewhat different than the rest of its surroundings. And if you look closely, you can see the two eyes outlined in white. 

We decided to watch this octopus for a little while, and we're so glad that we did.  Here's what happened next:

The octopus left the ledge and moved into a patch of coralline algae:


In the picture above, the octopus (the same one) is in the center of the image.  It's so well camouflaged, this time like the algae, that it might be challenging to see.  Below is a closeup to help you find the octopus and to help you appreciate the wonders of its disguisethe colors, the patterns, and the textures.  Notice how pointy it is, just like the upright branches of the algae!


Then the octopus moved to the edge of the coralline algae and started transforming again:

 
It morphed into an amazing combination — the head and mantle looked like the pale, blotchy tunicates (sea squirts) in the background, while the arms looked like the darker purplish-red algae nearby.

 
Is it a rock, algae, or a tunicate?  What a master of disguise!

1 comment:

Hollis said...

Such a special thing to see!