Hope you’ve all had a wonderful Easter weekend*, and had a chance to share some time with family and ponder interesting existential questions, such as “What’s the deal with the rabbit bringing eggs? Aren’t they supposed to be mammals that don’t lay eggs?!?”
Well, today’s BoFN post may help put some of that questioning to rest, because it addresses a single species that resembles several different classes of animal. I’m not sure if this is the first ever time we’ve delved into the animal kingdom (our popular Bone Wars! post clearly set a precedent), but this one may be the most interesting…
Today’s subject is Thaumoctopus mimicus
Frankly, I don’t think I can do a better description than Wikipedia does, so I’ll borrow some of their text just to show how versatile the mimic octopus’ behavior can be:
“It is unknown how many animals the mimic octopus can imitate. What is known is that most of the animals that it chooses to mimic are poisonous. Some of the more common animals the mimic octopus imitates are the following:
Lion fish – The lion fish is a poisonous fish with the brown and white stripes and spines that trail behind it on all sides. When the octopus changes its color and shapes its eight legs to look like spines, it is indeed conceivable that to the eyes of a potential predator, what might otherwise look like suitable prey, appears in fact as a highly venomous creature that should be avoided.
Sea snake – If under attack, a mimic octopus may hide completely in a hole except for two of its legs, which it sticks out in opposite directions. What remains in view is a long thin object with white and black bands running across the elongated body. Again the prospect of tangling with the highly venomous sea snake is something many predators would not attempt, and they therefore may swim away, leaving the octopus unharmed.
Flatfish – By pulling its arms together on one side, and flattening out his body while moving forward along the ocean floor, the mimic octopus imitates a flatfish.
Jellyfish – The Mimic Octopus will act as a Jellyfish sometimes to frighten and discourage certain predators. It does this by puffing up its head and siphon and letting its arms trail behind it. The octopus will then impersonate the motions of a jellyfish swimming by going to the surface and then slowly sinking with its arms spread evenly around its body.” – Italicized text from this Wikipedia page
Seriously folks, it’s crazy impressive stuff! This video will show you the talented mollusk in action (the narration starts at 0:15):
Enjoy your Mondays everyone!
*Has anyone else noticed some of their snarkier friends calling Easter “Zombie Jesus Day” lately? It seems like the new “in” thing to do.