Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Reef Octopus

[Originally posted to the Moorea Coral Reef LTER (MCR LTER) Marine Life Encyclopedia]

Reef Octopus
(Octopus cyanea)

Reef Octopus - Octopus cyanea
Photo by Gerick Bergsma

Octopuses possess complex eyes and well developed brains, and are extremely intelligent and inquisitive.

Throughout the tropical Indopacific, from Africa and the Red Sea to Polynesia

Exposed reefs and reef flats

Crustaceans, mollusks and fish

Quick Fact
Reef octopuses are masters of camouflage and hiding.  Lacking shells or bones, they can squeeze into impossibly small holes and crevices, and can change their color and skin texture to match almost any background (sand, coral, algae).  If provoked, reef octopuses may flatten themselves and turn white to appear intimidating.  If all else fails, octopuses can use jets of water to quickly propel themselves away from danger, and squirts of ink to confuse predators that might chase them.

Learn More
- Animal Diversity Web
- Shedd Aquarium

- Moorea Biocode Database

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