Mimic Octopus Thaumoctopus mimicus

Facts

  • Family: Octopodidae
  • Common name: Mimic octopus
  • Scientific name: Thaumoctopus mimicus

Description and Origin

  • The Mimic Octopus was first discovered in 1998 of the coast of Indonesia.
  • The name for this Octopus comes from the fact that they copy the behaviors of other animals and change their appearance to look like them.
  • Mimic Octopuses copy the behaviors of other marine organisms in order to trick predators into leaving them alone.
  • The mimic octopus can change color in order to look like animals.
Mimic Octopus' normal state

Different organisms it mimics

  • Lionfish
  • Seasnakes
  • Sole/flatfish
  • Cuttlefish
  • Sand anemones
  • Stingrays
  • Jellyfish
Lion fish, jellyfish, sea snake

Characteristics/Anatomy

  • Quite small, grows up to 60 cm (2 ft)
  • Body is covered with brown and white stripes or spots, although in their resting state their color is more of a pale brown or beige
  • Tentacles are about 25 cm in length
  • 8 arms, 3 hearts, other internal organs, and a siphon for jet propulsion
  • Large brain, lacks sense of hearing, excellent eyesight
  • Has pigment sacks on its skin known as chromatophores which allows them to rapidly change their pattern and color

Ancestry

  • Not much is known what the Mimic Octopus evolved because it has only been recently discovered
  • Other Octopuses do not have accurate evolutionary data either
  • Presumed theory is that its ancestors first had the ability to rapidly change colors then came the ability to mimic behavior
Wonderpus Octopus

Habitat

  • Indo-Pacific - can be found in places like the Red Sea or the Great Barrier Reef
  • Most documented records of the Mimic Octopus are from Indonesia
  • Primarily found in areas with sand at depths of about 50 feet
  • It prefers muddy sea floors in order to blend in with its natural brown, beige color

Food Chain

  • Secondary Consumer
  • Prey: Small Fish and Crabs
  • Predators: Small Shark and Barracuda
  • Feeding Habits: Stalks their prey or forages over an area of sand

Reproduction

  • Male inserts its hectocotylus into the female's cavity where he deposits sperm packets
  • Hectocotylus falls off and the male dies soon after
  • Female fertilizes and carries the eggs in strings while continuing to feed
  • The larvae hatch and the female dies soon after
  • Larvae drift as plankton as they mature, then sink and begin life on the ocean floor
Mimic Octopus mating

Lifespan

  • Lives only for nine months

Interesting Facts

  • To trick predators they mimic the behavior of other marine animals
  • The ability to impersonate another animal has never been seen before the discovery of the Mimic Octopus
  • They grow to a size of about 2 feet.
  • Female dies as soon as they give birth - the hatchlings have to fend for themselves right from the moment they're born
  • Unknown whether the Mimic Octopus is poisonous or not
  • We do not know how the Mimic Octopus knows what animals to shape-shift into (whether it is their instinct or it is a learned behavior)

Sources

  • http://www.dive-the-world.com/creatures-mimic-octopus.php
  • http://www.icr.org/article/where-did-mimic-octopus-get-its-amazing/
  • http://www.octopusworlds.com/mimic-octopus/
  • http://wetpixel.com/articles/andrea-and-antonella-ferrari-photograph-pair-of-mating-mimic-octopus/
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t-LTWFnGmeg
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8oQBYw6xxc
  • https://owlcation.com/stem/The-Wonderpus-Octopus-and-Mimic-Octopus-of-Indonesia-and-Malaysia
Created By
Ryan Harnanan
Appreciate

Credits:

Created with images by one1kat - "Mimic Octopus" • Stephen Childs - "Mimic Octopus" • Stephen Childs - "mimic_octopus" • Stephen Childs - "Mimic Octopus" • Stephen Childs - "Mimic Octopus" • prilfish - "Mimic Octopus" • Eschtar - "fish sea ​​fish lion fish" • klawson - "jellyfish blue underwater" • snotch - "_3140034.jpg" • Stephen Childs - "mimic_octopus" • Christian Gloor (mostly) underwater photographer - "Wonderpus"

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