Hailing from the Indo-Pacific region, the mimic octopus brings new meaning to blending in. Their name is derived, in part, from the Greek word thaûma, meaning “marvel” or “miracle”. They prefer warm, muddy waters like those found in river mouths and estuaries. Even though they are subject to habitat destruction and water pollution, their numbers are stable and these critters are listed as Least Concern by the IUCN.
First the Stats…
Scientific name: Thaumoctopus mimicus
Weight: Up to 22 lbs.
Length: Up to 2 feet
Lifespan: Up to 9 months
Now on to the Facts!
1.) Mimic octopuses prey on crustaceans, worms, and small fish.
2.) They are preyed on by fish, sharks, and eels.
3.) The mimic octopus uses an efficient and strong jet of water through its funnel to glide over the sand and reef structures in search of food and shelter.
4.) Aside from the usual chromatophores (color changing cells) that cephalopods have, these critters can not only change their coloration, in an instant, but they can also change the structure and surface of their skin to look like other animals and even textured rocks!
5.) Mimic octopuses have been known to impersonate sea snakes, lionfish, and rays. This is all to blend in and avoid being another creature’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
But wait, there’s more on the mimic octopus!
6.) Like all octopuses, these critters are also very intelligent and are able to problem solve and will change their appearance in conjunction with what other fish look like, in order to hide from predators. So if they are near lionfish, they will often take on the look of another lionfish, and so on.
7.) When a male comes into contact with a female, he will deposit his sperm sac into the female’s mantle. She will then carry this sac with her till she finds the conditions are optimal to lay eggs.
Did you know…?
Due to the mastery of their chromatophores they can change their coloration and texture in mere seconds! These critters can change their appearance to mimic up to and possibly over 15 different species! They can also produce ink clouds, when necessary.
8.) The female strings up the 200,000 eggs onto her tentacles. The suckers on her arms prevent the eggs from falling as she moves about, in search of food.
9.) The female dies soon after giving birth to her eggs.
10.) The male dies a couple months after depositing his sperm into the female.
Now a Short Mimic Octopus Video!
Also, check out the Critter Science YouTube channel. Videos added frequently!
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