Random profiles #2

Mimic octopus

Thaumoctopus mimicus



Unknown. The creature is elusive and there has not been enough found to be able to determine where they live and how many there are

The mimic octopus was first discovered off the coast of Indonesian city Sulawesi. The creature was found in 1998 resting on the bottom of a muddy river. Previously the octopus was thought to inhabit only the western and central Indo-Pacific until a specimen was discovered occupying a space near the great barrier reef in June of 2012.

From what’s been observed by scientists, it was hypothesized that the octopus prefers areas that are muddy with warm waters. They’ve been observed in the mouths of rivers and on the coasts of islands, which leads scientists to speculate that the mimic octopus prefers life in those regions.

The mimic octopus, like all other octopi, is an invertebrate. This lack of a skeleton means that the octopus moves through the water with ease. This also allows the octopus to get into tight spaces to catch prey. This flexibility of its body enhances the mimic octopus’ ability to pretend to be other animals, which I will mention soon. The mimic octopus is not large when referencing octopi, growing to be up to only two feet at fully grown with a diameter of no more than a pencil at their widest. Small horns protrude out of each eye of the animal. At default, the mimic is brown and white in color. Stripes and spots of the octopus help the creature blend into its surroundings. In addition to powerful mimicry, the mimic can change its color pigments to better suit their surroundings and hide from predators. The octopus possesses eight long arms with suction cups lining them, better allowing them to grip prey.

Mimicry is not unusual in the animal kingdom. Mimicry is seen in flies that resemble bees, mantises that resemble orchid flowers, and nonvenomous snakes intended to resemble a more venomous coral snake. There are three major types of mimicry. Batesian mimicry, where an animal mimics an animal that is of a greater threat than that; a sheep in wolf’s clothing. The mimic octopus falls under the category of this kind of mimicry. However, the mimicry of the octopus is extremely rare in terms of mimicry. Specimens like the orchid mantis only resemble a single other creature whereas the mimic octopus can mimic so many animals, thanks in part to its malleable body and high level of intelligence. Mimic octopi have been spotted bearing resemblance to the following animals: The sole fish, a flatfish that is poisonous and far more dangerous than the octopus that mimics it. The octopus mimics this animal by building up speed in the water and drawing all of its arms together until the octopus has almost a triangular shape. The octopus also imitates a venomous lionfish by rising into the open ocean and displaying its arms in a staggering display which greatly resembles the many spikes and spines protruding from the lionfish. When desperate, the octopus will burrow itself in the ground, leaving two exposed arms to resemble the venomous sea krait. It waves its arms in two different directions to imitate the movements of the krait. Truly the mimicry of the octopus is something to behold, being so good at mimicry as to be able to resemble sole fish, stingrays, or jellyfish. Quite possibly what's more impressive than the ability to appear similar to these animals is the fact that the octopus knows of these animals whatsoever and can remember and resemble distinct features and behaviors exhibited by the animals. The mimic octopus also prefers to mimic animals with similar colors to the ones displayed by the octopus naturally. The octopus also tends to mimic animals that are local to the areas it occupies

Small crabs, worms, and small fish

https://octopusworlds.com/mimic-octopus/ (website)
https://marinebio.org/species/mimic-octopuses/thaumoctopus-mimicus/ (website)
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/invertebrates/m/mimic-octopus/ (article)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mimic_octopus (website)