Thaumoctopus mimicus, also commonly known as the Mimic Octopus has an extraordinary ability to mimic other marine organisms. It grows up to approximately 2 feet at maturity and is brown with white stripes when in normal form. The Mimic octopus is only found in the tropical seas near Indonesia and was only recently discovered in 1998 due to its strong ability to camouflage itself. Typically it feeds on crabs, worms, and small fish and is predated on by deep water carnivores such as barracuda and sharks.
A Mimic Octopus in its normal Form
As its best defense, the Mimic Octopus mimics various poisonous creatures such as venomous sole, jellyfish, sea snakes, lionfish, and more. Mimicry also allows it to be discrete to predators as it can disguise to be a non-predatory organism to keep a prey from fleeing. A good example of this type of mimicry is imitating a crab and acting as an apparent mate, only to ingest its suitor.
The Mimic Octopus mimicking a Flounder, Lionfish, and a Sea Snake
Although most octopuses have the ability to change its texture and color to blend in with the environment, the Mimic octopus is the only known octopus species to mimic other organisms. It is a rare organism that can distinguish and mimic characteristics such as movement, color, and texture.
- “Mimic Octopuses, Thaumoctopus Mimicus.” At MarineBio.org. Web. 21 Feb. 2012. <http://marinebio.org/species.asp?id=260>.
- “Newfound Octopus Impersonates Fish, Snakes.” National Geographic. National Geographic Society. Web. 21 Feb. 2012. <http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2001/09/0920_octopusmimic_2.html>.