The encounter, first reported by native Australian information web site Bundaberg Now, was a uncommon sighting of a blanket octopus, named after the blanket-like fleshy cape between its arms. Jacinta Shackleton, a marine biologist and reef information, filmed and photographed the octopus whereas diving off the coast of Girl Elliot Island in Queensland on Jan. 6.
“After I first noticed it I believed it might have been a juvenile fish with lengthy fins, however because it got here nearer I realised it was a blanket octopus and I used to be overjoyed and could not include my pleasure!” Shackleton informed Bundaberg Now.
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Blanket octopuses are a small group of rarely-seen octopuses within the genus Tremoctopus, in keeping with the Nice Barrier Reef Basis, a non-profit working to guard the enduring reef. Shackleton encountered the younger feminine in shallow waters, which is very uncommon as these octopuses usually reside within the open ocean.
“The colors in her cape had been unimaginable and it was fascinating to look at the best way she moved by the water,” Shackleton wrote on her Instagram account, — @jacintashackleton, the place she posted the video and photographs of the encounter.
Solely feminine blanket octopuses have capes, which they’ll take away in a pinch to distract or hit predators with — identical to Physician Unusual’s magical cloak from Marvel. Females are additionally a lot, a lot greater than males and develop as much as about 6.6 toes (2 meters) lengthy, whereas males are lower than 1 inch (2.4 centimeters) lengthy, in keeping with the Nice Barrier Reef Basis. This is likely one of the largest dimension variations between the sexes of any animal.
For males to breed with a lot bigger females, they detach their hectocotylus, a modified arm male octopuses use to ship sperm, and insert it right into a feminine, Dwell Science beforehand reported. Blanket octopuses are additionally recognized for his or her unusual looking technique of ripping off the tentacle of a poisonous jellyfish and utilizing it as a weapon to catch prey.
Shackleton described the expertise as a once-in-a-lifetime encounter. “A number of pictures have come from people in captivity so I imagine I am extraordinarily fortunate to have seen one through the day, on the reef and within the wild and to have had two cameras with me!” she informed Bundaberg Now.
Initially revealed on Dwell Science.