is this octopus-camoflage video real?

Discussion in 'Physiology and Biology' started by jeffcapeshop, Jan 25, 2006.

  1. jeffcapeshop

    jeffcapeshop Larval Mass Registered

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2005
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    hi,

    i came across this video of an octopus camoflaged against a "bush" -

    http://www.break.com/index/octopus1.html

    i think it's quite well known and you've probably seen it before, but i find it very hard to believe it's real - the octopus seems to have got the shadows right, which would only work from the direction the camera is viewing it from, and when in reverse the right side of the octopus seems to shrink and become spikey (right click zoom fullscreen for a better, though still lo-res view)

    do any of you esperts have an opinion? i know cephlapod camoflage is pretty highly advanced, but is it really this good?

    thanks,

    jeff
     
  2. bigGdelta

    bigGdelta Vampyroteuthis Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2005
    Messages:
    403
    Likes Received:
    0
    Real. After reading the comments I can't believe so many people thought this clip (which was from a freaking nature documentary) was fake. Here's a cuttlefish vid showing how fast cephs can change color http://www.tonmo.com/images/vids/CFvsFish.MPG
     
  3. jeffcapeshop

    jeffcapeshop Larval Mass Registered

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2005
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    i didn't notice the comments.. perhaps i should have read them first ;)

    do you happen to know what documentary this featured on?
     
  4. main_board

    main_board Vampyroteuthis Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2003
    Messages:
    373
    Likes Received:
    7
    Octopuses are masters at camo. They can change not only colour, but also the texture of their skin (and the amount of light reflected off their skin as well, I think). Definitely amazing creatures.

    Cheers!
     
  5. Feelers

    Feelers Vampyroteuthis Registered

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2005
    Messages:
    332
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think someone asked about this video before, and someone (here on the board) actually knew the marine biologist who filmed it. He had been following the octopus before he started filming, and saw it land on the weed.
    Wow 9 pages of comments on that video!!!

    The octopus in the video is the common octopus O. Vulgaris, some people here actually keep this species.
    Colour changing is really weird to watch, it kinda pulses outwards from the centre.
    Cuttlefish as stated above are even more impressive in terms of colour changing ability. They can match patterns, ie a checkers board, while an octopus lacks this ability.
     
  6. GPO87

    GPO87 Sepia elegans Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2005
    Messages:
    789
    Likes Received:
    164
    Location:
    Dancing between Vancouver and Auckland
    I love color change, and I seriously couldn't beleive how fast he changed either, even though I have watched previous documentaries
    on color change in cephs. Why cant humans do that?? Wouldn't that be awsome...
     
  7. aximbigfan

    aximbigfan GPO Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2006
    Messages:
    167
    Likes Received:
    0
    WOW!!!! i didn not know that they could change color that fast!!! i though it took like 10 min. before they fully changed from one color to the next!

    chris
     
  8. Graeme

    Graeme Vampyroteuthis Registered

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2005
    Messages:
    352
    Likes Received:
    1
    Nope, their colour change abilities are the most advanced on the planet- Camelions have nothing on them! I think there's this one film I've been desperately trying to track down called "Aliens of the Abyss" about cuttlefish, and they show a clip of a male cuttle essentially "split in half" where it's side on between another male and a female, and one half of its body is displaying a vibrant warning signal to the male, while the other is displaying courtship colours to the female!! Amazing control; suggests a high degree of intellegence! I've never seen this vid, but one of my lecturers, who is a marine biologist, raves about this documentary, so I have to track it down!

    Graeme
     
  9. Euprymna

    Euprymna O. vulgaris Registered

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2004
    Messages:
    97
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think it's Roger Hanlon who filmed this,not 100% sure though
     
  10. bigGdelta

    bigGdelta Vampyroteuthis Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2005
    Messages:
    403
    Likes Received:
    0
    I've seen video of caribbean reef squid doing the same thing.
     
  11. Neogonodactylus

    Neogonodactylus Haliphron Atlanticus Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Messages:
    658
    Likes Received:
    137
    It was Roger Hanlon who got this footage.

    While the change in color can be spectactular, it is not infalable. They use a fairly simple set of decision rules to match contrast and usually on the reef, the color is reasonably correct. However, because octopus lact color vision, they can make mistakes. What really is the most effective part of the camouflage is the ability to match tecture. Octopus are much better at getting tecture right and this often conceals the errors in color matching.

    Roy
     
  12. jeffcapeshop

    jeffcapeshop Larval Mass Registered

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2005
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    the ability to alter their texture would presumably account for the match of shadows shown in the video - i wasn't aware of this ability before, but it makes a lot of sense!
     
  13. bigGdelta

    bigGdelta Vampyroteuthis Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2005
    Messages:
    403
    Likes Received:
    0
    Don't they have reflective cells that let them match nearby colors?
     
  14. Feelers

    Feelers Vampyroteuthis Registered

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2005
    Messages:
    332
    Likes Received:
    0
    The reflective cells are called iridiophores, "which work by differential refraction of light". The greenish metallic tint is cause by these. They often seem quite prominent in photos of Briareus's for some reason.

    Heres a good pic of the greenish tint on a cuttle...
    [​IMG]
     
  15. bigGdelta

    bigGdelta Vampyroteuthis Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2005
    Messages:
    403
    Likes Received:
    0
    Aren't most red things black after a few feet (i may have it backwards but i think the red wavelengths are the first to go)? Then the greens yellows and blues would be much more important to the cephs
     
  16. Graeme

    Graeme Vampyroteuthis Registered

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2005
    Messages:
    352
    Likes Received:
    1
    Yeah, red light is absent after I think a few hundred feet (but don;t hold me to the actual depth, I can't remember). A fair whack of deep sea animals are in fact red, becuase red light doesn't show up down there. I think a few predators hunt using red light generated below the eyes as this makes them invisible to prey... or something.

    Graeme
     
  17. Neogonodactylus

    Neogonodactylus Haliphron Atlanticus Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Messages:
    658
    Likes Received:
    137
    In clear ocean waters, long wave lengths drop out most quickly and generally are depleated by 20 m. The amount and color of particulate material in the water will have a considerable impact on this. In shallow waters with broad spectrum lighting, red is certainly an effective color over the few meters that these animals are visually interacting with other animals having color vision. In dim illumination, at moderate depth, or in murky waters, red more or less equates to dark.

    Roy
     
  18. monty

    monty Colossal Squid Staff Member Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2004
    Messages:
    4,887
    Likes Received:
    11
    In addition to the iridophores, there are also the more boring leucophores, which are just masses of white stuff, more or less, that provide sort of a background, diffuse reflection of the color that's around.

    Although red light certainly drops off rapidly, there is still a significant amount of it at the depths that a lot of octopus and cuttlefish live-- certainly it's a factor in tidepools and reefs down to 50 feet or so, although even there it's attenuated. I always like to bring a small flashlight when diving, even during the day, because even at shallow depths, shining a white light can often reveal things that are very hard (for human eyes) to see in the natural light-- of course, that's probably both from the camouflage being optimized for the natural light levels and because human eyes are optimized for the spectrum of sunlight outside the water (which the flashlight tries to emulate).
     

Share This Page