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Jane Morgan

Octopus ID

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I took a picture of this tiny octopus in about a metre of water in the sand off the beach in Nuweiba, Red Sea. I havent been able to find a picture of him in any of the Red Sea guides, and the local guides had not seen him before.. perhaps he is some kind of juvenile - can somebody help? :)

post-4483-1138539492_thumb.jpg

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It is certainly a long arm octopus, Jane. And that white line running along the base of his arm makes him look very much like a mimic. But I'm no expert.

 

An very interesting find in the Red Sea. I am not aware of these guys being reported in the Red Sea.

 

Alex

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Thanks Alex. Had thought myself that he could be a mimic from pictures that I've seen in the past, but had not heard of them in the Red Sea... interesting!! I'll have to investigate more. He did change colour slightly while I was watching him, but that was all. When I swam over him he was quite disguised and a similar colour to the sand but I recognised the shape and swam back for a closer look. He then became darker in colour... dont know if that helps!?! :)

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I just had a look at the original (only) papers about the Mimic Octopus and at the time they were written it was thought to be restricted to the Indo-Malayan archipelago.

 

It is always struck me that there are a lot of good muck diving sites all the way up the Gulf of Aqaba and yet we Europeans trek all the way to SE Asia to see critters!

 

Alex

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I couldnt agree more.. having visited Taba, Nuweiba and Aqaba over the past year I have been blown away by the amount of critters to be found in this part of the Red Sea... although the Arabic mimic octopus is possibly not as common as those in Lembeh... :)

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We think with a high degree of certitude, but not 100 % (almost) that this is the newly described "Mimic Octopus" Thaumoctopus mimicus Norman & Hochberg, 2005.

 

See Molluscan Research 25(2): 57-70.

 

Holotype from New Caledonia, reported from other photographs from the Red Sea: Shen and E. Clark photos, Eilat, Gulf of Aqaba and photos Mark Lipscombe.

 

Congratulations, fantastic animal: we wait to see one here in the Philippines where it was also reported from.

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This discussion does raise the very interesting point that there is a hell of a lot of shallow water between Eilat and New Caledonia. Tip of the iceberg regarding distribution?

 

Alex

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Absolutely true, but there are lots of cosmopolitan Cephalopods. I here repeat the "Distribution" according to the authors of the new genus and new species:

 

"Thaumoctopus mimucus is reported here from the shallow waters of the Tropical West Pacific Ocean from New Caledonia across Papua New Guinea and Indoneia, wet to Mabul Island, Malaysia and north to Luzon Island, Philippines. Based on photographic records, we also tentatively report this species from Elat in the Red Sea. Depth records range from one metre to 37 m"

`

Looking at their pictures I'm quite convinced it's the same animal here, but I'm sure these experts would love to have one in rum from the Red Sea.

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Maybe I should start a thread to see where people have pictures of Mimic Octopus from?

 

Although this will be strongly biased towards where people dive, rather than where they live.

 

Alex

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Alex,

 

great idea, all of us who have a picture of this Mimic Octopus should post it here. We then contact the authors - a quick advance in knowledge. True also that the result may strongly be directed to where people dive, but it may add a lot of knowledge to the range known.

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