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What kind of octopus is this?


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#1 Wanderer

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 03:29 PM

Saw this during the day in Puerto Galera, Philippines diving in sandy muck around 17m (or 50ft). To put it in perspective, about 2-3 inches of the octopus is exposed here. Unfortunately, this is the best shot I got as it would not come out of its hole while I was waiting there. Thanks in advance!

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#2 drako

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 04:59 PM

Of the top of my head.....Wonderpus?

#3 liquidguru

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 05:44 PM

Looks more like a Mimic to me. The Mimics have that white 'zinc' mark under their eyes, whereas Wonderpus have dots. I would also expect to colour to be a little more orange if it was a Wonderpus. I've just checked with Liberty, one of the Dive Guide Legends from Lembeh, and he also said immediately 'Mimic'

Edited by liquidguru, 18 July 2012 - 05:17 AM.

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#4 Bent C

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Posted 18 July 2012 - 12:23 AM

I agree with Kaij, no doubt it is a mimic.
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#5 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 18 July 2012 - 01:13 AM

I vote mimic too. Reasonably hard to tell with so much of it in the burrow. Alex

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#6 davichin

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Posted 18 July 2012 - 05:08 AM

One more for mimic because of the pointy "ears"
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#7 jkane

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Posted 18 July 2012 - 10:29 PM

Do wonderpus and mimics spend time burrowed in the sand? There are a couple of octopus that I know of that do...the long arm and short arm sand octopus. The short arm sand octopus was described just a few years ago, and I believe the long arm sand octopus may have yet to be described. I've seen both in Hawaii, and your pic looks somewhat like the undescribed long arm sand octopus peeking out of the sand as seen in this pic - http://sealifeimages...8kbYH. Another similarity is the yellow breathing tube (for lack of the correct term). An expert on these guys, and who was involved with describing the short arm sand octopus, is Crissy Huffard of UC Berkeley. I don't know if she's still associated with Berkeley, but a little Google work may locate her.

Edited by jkane, 18 July 2012 - 10:47 PM.


#8 liquidguru

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 01:05 AM

Do wonderpus and mimics spend time burrowed in the sand? There are a couple of octopus that I know of that do...the long arm and short arm sand octopus. The short arm sand octopus was described just a few years ago, and I believe the long arm sand octopus may have yet to be described. I've seen both in Hawaii, and your pic looks somewhat like the undescribed long arm sand octopus peeking out of the sand as seen in this pic - http://sealifeimages...8kbYH. Another similarity is the yellow breathing tube (for lack of the correct term). An expert on these guys, and who was involved with describing the short arm sand octopus, is Crissy Huffard of UC Berkeley. I don't know if she's still associated with Berkeley, but a little Google work may locate her.


Mimics and Wonderpus live in burrows in the sand, and this, is definitely a mimic Octopus. I'm fortunate to have seen many many Mimics and Wonderpus over the last three years and I'm 100% certain. On top of that, Liberty, a dive guide here who has been diving in Lembeh for over 16 years, immediately said Mimic too :)

Mimics and Wonderpus can be difficult to differentiate, but it's easy enough when you know what to look for. The bands/stripes on a Mimics arms are fairly even light and dark. On a Wonderpus, they have the the bands/strips, but the light band, rather than being solid consists of a broad central band, then two lines on the outside. Surrounding the eyes on a Mimic there are dots above the eye and a white band under the eye (as in the photo above). On Wonderpus there are dots all around the eye, no white stripe. On top of the eyes the Mimics have a long pointy bit (my official scientific term) and the Wonderpus have a short stubby pointy bit. When you see them move, that also have completely different actions. The Mimics and Wonderpus tend to also like different habitats (at least here in Lembeh), with the Mimics preferring black sand sites, and the Wonderpus on more rubbly/coral sites. And finally, though easier to see with video lights, the Wonderpus is a much more orange colour. The Mimic is a darker/black colour

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#9 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 03:04 AM

Wonderpus can have the long pointy bits above their eyes too, although they are usually kept contracted they can be expanded - so shouldn't be a primary guide in ID.

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#10 mucktopus

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 11:16 AM

Thanks Jkane for the heads up on this thread. This is a great shot. I agree with the many others who have ID'd it as a mimic. For me the big giveaway is that the body color patterns are high-contrast but a bit "muddled" -- the boundary between dark and light patterns is blurred. With Wunderpus, an area on the skin is either fully white or an even rusty-brown. This page shows other ways to ID mimic and wunderpus:

http://calphotos.ber...pusvsmimic.html

Again- nice shot and happy diving!!

#11 Wanderer

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 12:51 AM

THANK YOU everyone for all of your input! Looks like I'm gonna go with Mimic! I wish I had enough air to wait for it to come out of its burrow... sigh. :)