The Mimic Octopus (Thaumoctopus mimicus)

The Mimic octopus was discovered in 1998 off the coasts of Malaysia and Indonesia. It has evolved an amazing technique for deceiving both predators and prey. When threatened, it imitates local predators such as venomous sea snakes, soles, lionfish, jellyfish, sea anemones, and other organisms that divers have not quite figured out.

Mimic Octopus changing into large black crab, or something. lol
Image Source: National Geographic

Not only do they use their disguises to hide, but they have been observed hunting as well. They will often imitate a crab. When a tempted and unlucky crab seeking a mate comes along, the mimic octopus attempts to make him a quick and easy meal. Mimics also eat small fish and worms. They can change both their shape, color, and texture imitating a sandy bottom, then quickly change to another form. This is not believed to be a learned behavior but one that has evolved in which particular shapes and colors have worked for their ancestors. Due to the timing and usage of its mimicry and patterning skills, mimic octopi are believed by some to be exhibiting a kind of intelligence.


Crab or Snail Mimic. Can't really tell.
Image from Pinterest - Crab or Snail Mimic?

While many other species have colorful rings or mock stingers to imitate dangerous organisms, the mimic octopus is the only known organism to imitate multiple organisms and can blend into a number of varied surroundings.


Mimics are found in the Indo-pacific near Indonesia and mostly hang out in the muddy estuary bottoms in the tropics where they mostly feed on small fish and crustaceans.


Check out a video of the Mimic Octopus Below.




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