WE’VE MOVED HERE! COME SAY HELLO!
Animal impersonator can turn into a snake, crab, jellyfish, starfish, stingray, shrimp… …
Only recently discovered in 1998 this little Octopus has caused quite the stir down at the Proceedings of the Ever So Strange.
Quite simply it’s able to mimic an array of other animals to put the heebie jeebies up anything that might want to eat the little chap. Or it can pretend to be something nice and friendly, like a mate for a crab, only to gobble up some hapless creature. Here’s just a few nuggets of the Mimic Octopuses repertoire;
Bally marvellous is its ability not only to take on the shape, colour and texture of other animals it is also able to copy their movement. This is an extreme example of Batesian Mimicry, you know the thing you learnt at school, flies that look like wasps, snakes that are harmless that look like evil snakes. That sort of thing.
While most animal mimics only look like one creature that looks a bit shifty, the Mimic Octopus is able to imitate more than fifteen different species including Mantis Shrimp, Stingrays, Sea Snakes, Poisonous Lionfish, Crabs, Flatfish, Brittle Stars, Shells and Jellyfish. Flexibility is one key to this ability as Octopuses are amazingly malleable. They are so good at squidging themselves around that they can pass through the tiniest of holes, in fact its only obstacle is its rather solid eye, so they can get through a hole as small as their eye. It’s not advisable of course to try this yourself. Octopoids are also incredibly dextrous and can easily do a number of tasks, I gave this one to the Wifey to open jars when I’m not around.
Back to the little Mimic Octopus as this multi-talented chap has another trick up its sleeve. You see they are very clever. These Molluscs may be in the same phylum as the shellfish, but they are definitely not in the same class at school. Octopoids are really rather bright. They have been shown to have personalities, they exhibit tool use, and one researcher even reported that they like to play – pop a ball in a tank with an Octopus and they like to bounce it. So what our little friend the Mimic Octopus is able to do is pick which animal to impersonate to scare which type of animal away … a snake for a fish … and what not … really rather splendid little thing isn’t it.
One final note should be given to another Indonesian resident; the Coconut Octopus who not surprisingly imitates a Coconut and uses two of its tentacles to walk / float away.
I think you’ll agree that though his repertoire is small the Coconut Octopus really does appear to have his turn down to a tee. The Mimic Octopus however, while having a great repertoire, is said to do a truly dreadful impression of a Pineapple.