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SimonSpear

Red Blue Ring Octopus??

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Hi all

 

Last week we came across a Blue Ring Octopus while diving in Lembeh, the only problem was that it wasn't yellow, beige or even orange, but a deep red colour. Has anyone ever heard of a red Blue Ring before? I've been searching for an answer today, but nothing so far. I'll have to upload a screen grab tomorrow as I don't have my external HDD with me right now, but in the meantime if anyone has any info whatsoever then I'd be really interested in hearing! :D

 

Cheers, Simon

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I know caribbean reef octopi can change colour to blend in with their environment. It would not be a shock that others could do this too.

 

We have also had thread on the past with blue ringed octopus photos that weren't actually blue ring octos but look alikeys.

 

And what no photo ?

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Hi Simon

 

I've had the good luck of seeing a number of blue-rings working here in Lembeh. I've seen them vary from almost a creamy white to a dark red/brown. It was possible that some of these sightings were the same critter too!

 

As I am sure you have seen, the blue rings can blend into the creature quite easily - but make a gesture that causes a reaction and they will go electric blue.

 

Here are a couple:

 

post-2756-1262871907.jpg

 

 

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Hi Guys thanks for the help

 

Yes I've seen the light beige and yellow Blue Rings before and I'd heard they could go darker to an orange, but I've never heard of red before. Here's a couple of screen shots. Images were captured in natural light white balanced without lights and no adjustment in post. There is of course the possibility that the colour captured in camera is wrong, but personally I don't think it could be wrong enough to cause this colour variation. Let me know what you think...

 

RBR4.jpg

 

RBR3.jpg

 

Interestingly I also saw a Hairy Octopus a couple of weeks before with the same red colour with black 'bands' similar to the white/black banding on a mimic or wonderpus. Lembeh sure is a mind boggling place!

 

Hmmmm images are not linking from my Blog. I'm still travelling but I've posted them on my blog here if you want to take a look.

Edited by SimonSpear

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Holy wow thats some red colour .. i would never have guessed that in my head. Thats the same colour you saw with your eyes too. Special.

 

Can't wait to hear the outcome of this one !

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Wow. Very red. I doubt that red would photograph as strongly under artificial lighting (strobe or video lights) because it looks like a fluorescent red too me. In fact, with flash I would expect it to look just like Tim's shots, above - a reddy-brown colour. Indeed, I would not be surprised if it is the same individual as in Tim's shots.

 

Shooting in ambient light underwater tends to exaggerate fluorescence, e.g. glowing red anemones, red algae in the UK, fluorescence corals etc:

http://wetpixel.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=10016

The effect is further enhanced if shooting with a filter. Basically the blue colour of light at depths acts an an exciter wavelength for the fluorescence and the on camera filter acts as a barrier filter for the ambient light on reaching the camera, allowing the fluorescence to be seen.

 

This is why when you see a glowing red anemone (such as the one at small crack in the Red Sea) and photograph it with flash you don't get that glowing red colour you remember. If you shoot it with ambient light and a filter (usually on video) you get an even stronger red.

 

I believe that is why your occy looks so red. So what is really fascinating is that the blue-ring seems to have some fluorescence on it. Which octopus do not normally have. This red fluorescence is very typical of algae, suggesting to me that this octopus has algae on its skin. Which raises lots more questions...

 

Alex

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They also go pink. I shot a pink greater blue ring long time ago in Malaysia. It's actually very pretty when they do that. I was shooting back then with a URPro filter so it could be as Alex said, that the bio-fluorescence is coming out. However how do we account for the change of color at will, which is what my blue ring did?

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Really interesting stuff!

 

I'll have to look back through my footage tomorrow (HDD is up in the room and Gracie's asleep so can't do it now) and double check this but I do seem to remember this Blue Ring flashing other more familiar Blue Ring colours (biege/yellow) when it got excited, but the colour that it always returned to was this deep red. It very much looked red to the eye too rather than a dark orange. This was shot in about 15m (amazingly enough Alex!) using a Magic Filter. I'd never intended to use a Magic Filter on this trip but somehow didn't pack my URPro filter for using with my screw in diopter and WA lens, so I had to hijack one of Zoe's filters and cut it up for my needs. Would that account for this red colour being captured even if it also looked red to the eye? BTW if anyone is interested using a Magic Filter at 15m was about the maximum I was able to white balance down to, so this is right at the limit here, although obviously they were never 'designed' for video. I'm trying to recall exactly but I'm fairly sure the hairy octopus I saw displaying a similar colour was not shot using a Magic Filter, but a normal URPro Filter. Hmmmm more questions than answers!

 

Drew that Pink Blue Ring must have been a female. No self respecting male Blue Ring would go out strutting his stuff dressed like a girl! :D

 

Thanks for all the help everyone - keep it coming if anyone has any more thoughts! :drink:

 

Cheers, Simon

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Wow, yeah, this is a very odd colour. I've never seen anything in Lembeh that looks like that. But then your guy does look like the ones we see all the time.

 

Can you remember the dive site, Simon? We were seeing a lot of BROs on Critter Hunt and Makawide2 in November and early December.

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Hi Tim

 

Yes we saw him at Police Pier at around 15m. If you look at the pier from the Strait then it was on the left hand side, maybe 50m or so off the pier at a guess. We dove Makawide maybe 10 times during our stay and the site was on fire, but no BROs there. This was the only one that we saw on the last dive of the last day or I'd have been right back to try to find him again! If you see him let me know and maybe think kindly of me if we can afford to stay at KBR next time we're in Lembeh :D

 

Cheers, Simon

Edited by SimonSpear

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Ok I've just been back through my footage and at times the Blue Ring did revert to its more 'common' beige/brown colours. You can see an example here. (Sorry for the link but for some reason I can't embed the photos!).

 

Hmmmmmmmm.......

Edited by SimonSpear

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Hmmm indeed. I can't help but feel this is some weird-ass lighting effect going on! BROs just are not this colour.

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When it reverted it was only briefly while 'flashing'. I'm not sure it was just lighting as it looked virtually the same colour (even noted such in my log before I'd even reviewed my footage). Anyone know any Cephalopod experts out there that I could contact?

 

Cheers, Simon

Edited by SimonSpear

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Hi Simon,

 

i have seen that kind of colour before here in Lembeh. They often tend to get strange colours when the dive guides flick them too much with their hand (they flick their fingers at them, to provoce the blue ringed defense reaction). The guides around here really do that very intensivly, which is not good i think ... and after a while the octo gets really dark. and sometimes also reddish like on your picture. i also saw that coloration on mating blue rings ... one of our customers filmed it with red filter and MWB ... and it looked a bit redder, than it did UW ...

 

but i promise you, that this is the normal blue ring here at lembeh. sometimes they take that colour.

 

serge

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Hey Guys

 

I've just show Simon's pic to one of our critter experts, Liberty, who says he has seen BROs that colour a couple of times. Serge's explanation makes a lot of sense.

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So the coloration is the octopodes own pigmentation mixed with the fluorescence of the algae on their skin to give that color? Or is this pigmentation solely octopode only?

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Thanks for the feedback Serge and Tim! I know what you mean about the guide hand flicks - it drove me insane when you are trying to capture natural behaviour. I wasn't with the group who first spotted this BRO so by the time I arrived that probably had happened and got the BRO all worked up, although it didn't happen after I arrived as everyone knew I didn't like it going on. It all appears plausable.

 

Hmmmm so yes Drew's question is the next thing to answer - is this purely pigmentation, or is there some form of fluorescence (algae or otherwise) working too? I've fired off a couple of emails to some Octi experts that I have had recommended to me so I'll see what follows and I'll post any news if I get any. Thanks for the help everyone!

 

Cheers, Simon

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Thanks for the feedback Serge and Tim! I know what you mean about the guide hand flicks - it drove me insane when you are trying to capture natural behaviour. I wasn't with the group who first spotted this BRO so by the time I arrived that probably had happened and got the BRO all worked up, although it didn't happen after I arrived as everyone knew I didn't like it going on. It all appears plausable.

 

Hmmmm so yes Drew's question is the next thing to answer - is this purely pigmentation, or is there some form of fluorescence (algae or otherwise) working too? I've fired off a couple of emails to some Octi experts that I have had recommended to me so I'll see what follows and I'll post any news if I get any. Thanks for the help everyone!

 

Cheers, Simon

A good reference on how cephelapods change color is

http://www.thecephalopodpage.org/cephschoo...ChangeColor.pdf

 

Several mechanisms appear to be used all at one time.

Bill

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It was my understanding that each species will typically only possess three different colours of chromatophores and the patterns we see are based on different combinations of those chromatophores, similar to the way an RGB display works. The patterns are someone limited by the colours of the chromatophores and they can only make colours possible by the combinations.

 

As far as I know, fluorescent pigments are not known from cephalopods. The ones in cnidaria (corals, anemone, etc.) are proteins synthesised by the animals themselves and this is fairly unique to cnidaria. I don't believe algal symbiosis is known from cephalopods either - it is known from some gastropods which ingest cnidaria (hydroids and anemones) and steal their zooxanthellae.

 

The fluorescent alga idea is interesting, but I'm not sure how it could work.

 

The best way to see if it was fluorescent would be to photograph it using filters from NightSea. Basically you put one filter each strobe which only lets short wavelength through and another filter goes over the port and only lets light with longer wavelengths than what is blocked from the strobes. The only light that reaches the sensor/film will be fluorescence.

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It was my understanding that each species will typically only possess three different colours of chromatophores and the patterns we see are based on different combinations of those chromatophores, similar to the way an RGB display works. The patterns are someone limited by the colours of the chromatophores and they can only make colours possible by the combinations.

 

As far as I know, fluorescent pigments are not known from cephalopods. The ones in cnidaria (corals, anemone, etc.) are proteins synthesised by the animals themselves and this is fairly unique to cnidaria. I don't believe algal symbiosis is known from cephalopods either - it is known from some gastropods which ingest cnidaria (hydroids and anemones) and steal their zooxanthellae.

 

The fluorescent alga idea is interesting, but I'm not sure how it could work.

 

The best way to see if it was fluorescent would be to photograph it using filters from NightSea. Basically you put one filter each strobe which only lets short wavelength through and another filter goes over the port and only lets light with longer wavelengths than what is blocked from the strobes. The only light that reaches the sensor/film will be fluorescence.

I have tried a couple of times to shoot octopi with a fluorescent setup and got mostly nothing but it is hard work since you need to have no lights going at all.

For a good review of pigments of a variety of sea beasties take a look at

http://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/pdf/article/2006/np/b307612c

 

Free content but you need to register. The authors suggest that some squid have fluorescent pigments but mention nothing about fluorescent octopuses.

 

Bill

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Unfortunately the image links appear to be broken - I'd really like to see your images.

 

One thing I would be looking for is if the red color appears metallic. As far as I know, cephalopods are not fluorescent (absorbing one color of light and re emitting it as another) but are iridescent (differential refraction of light). The red anemone at 100 feet as well as the colors of many corals under uv light are great examples of fluorescence. The metallic color of many insects, especially certain metallic blue butterflies, is a good example of iridescence. Soap bubbles and oil on water are also examples. Iridescence is directional - change your viewing angle and the colors you see likely change. Color from pigments (most things) and from iridescence doesn't behave like that.

 

Cephalopods also have an iridescent system that is separate from their better studied chromatophore system. Unlike buttefly wings which are fixed, cephalopods can turn there iridescent system on an off!

Both iridescence and fluoresce can be very difficult to photograph. For iridescence you generally need to be shooting available light. What you see is not what you get when your strobes chance the angle and properties of the incoming light. For fluorescence, you may need to shot available light (its dim at 100 ft) or supply the “right” spectrum of light (often uv) and add a filter to your camera to block undesirable noise.

 

James B. Wood PhD

Wetpixel Science Moderator (who should check in more often!)

The Cephalopod Page Webmaster

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post-7708-1307891235.jpgpost-7708-1307891213.jpg

These two shots are I believe of the closely related mototie octopus. There was 21 secs between the shots and it changed faster than that when irritated by the dive guide. About 2-3 inches long delightful little beastie.

Tim Digger

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Wow didn't realise this was still being debated. I was actually going through my Blue Ring footage a week or so ago, so if I magically create some time this week then I can probably post a link to some example footage (if I can't do it this then it will probably be 3 more weeks before I can post it).

 

Cheers, Simon

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