is this octopus-camoflage video real?

jeffcapeshop

Larval Mass
Registered
#1
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
 

bigGdelta

Vampyroteuthis
Supporter
#2
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
 

main_board

Vampyroteuthis
Supporter
#4
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!
 

Feelers

Vampyroteuthis
Registered
#5
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.
 

GPO87

Sepia elegans
Staff member
Moderator
#6
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...
 

Graeme

Vampyroteuthis
Registered
#8
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
 

bigGdelta

Vampyroteuthis
Supporter
#10
Graeme said:
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
I've seen video of caribbean reef squid doing the same thing.
 

Neogonodactylus

Haliphron Atlanticus
Staff member
Moderator
#11
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
 

bigGdelta

Vampyroteuthis
Supporter
#13
Don't they have reflective cells that let them match nearby colors?
 

Feelers

Vampyroteuthis
Registered
#14
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...
 

bigGdelta

Vampyroteuthis
Supporter
#15
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
 

Graeme

Vampyroteuthis
Registered
#16
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
 

Neogonodactylus

Haliphron Atlanticus
Staff member
Moderator
#17
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
 

monty

Colossal Squid
Staff member
Supporter
#18
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).
 

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