• TONMOCON VII Announced | MBL at Woods Hole | Apr 6-8, 2018
  • Thanks for visiting! TONMO is the world's greatest online cephalopod enthusiast community, with interactive content going back to May of 2000, and a biennial conference. If you'd like to join in on the fun, become a TONMO member -- it's easy and free. You can follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more cephy goodness.


Lighter clothing = more interactive octopus?

Hayek

GPO
Registered
Joined
Mar 9, 2009
Messages
130
#1
Lately, I've noticed that Caligula (O. Briareus) is more likely to come out of his den if I am wearing white clothing and is more reserved when I wear dark clothing. Just a minute ago, I was trying to get him to come out for a guest. He peered out from behind the rock at me while I was wearing a black sweatshirt. Almost immediately after I took off the dark sweatshirt in favor of my white undershirt, he came out to investigate. I have recorded similar behavior on several occasions.

When Caligula is showing dark colors like red and brown he tends to be scared or angry. White and light blue seem to signify calmness. I think he sees my dark clothes as an indication that I might be aggressive and the opposite for light colored clothes.

Has anyone noticed this type of behavior? What do you think? Is it just a coincidence?
 

DWhatley

Cthulhu
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Sep 4, 2006
Messages
19,910
Location
Gainesville, GA
#2
Good observation! I have wondered about patterns on clothing but did not consider dark and light. KaySoh is at a good stage to experiment now so I will hunt the closet for two opposite shirts and try to come up with an experiment.
 

monty

TONMO Supporter
Staff member
Supporter
Joined
Mar 8, 2004
Messages
4,887
#3
Someone a few years back observed that a GPO in a public aquarium didn't like "red"-- maybe it was that the GPO (as is generally believed) perceived the red as "dark."
 

sorseress

Colossal Squid
Supporter
Joined
Mar 23, 2005
Messages
3,026
#4
This could be interesting. We certainly have enough people keeping octos to be able to accumulate some interesting observations. Do all octos of one species seem to react that way, do octos of a different species also react that way, etc. Maybe a sticky could be created where people could post any observations. There might be nothing to it at all, but it would be cool to find out.
 

MsElectricOcean

Larval Mass
Registered
Joined
May 19, 2008
Messages
1
#5
I think that it makes perfect sense for your octopus to respond to the color of your clothing. He probably perceives you as another color-changing entity. When an octopus is angry it is noted to usually turn a reddish or darker color. Perhaps lighter colors make you seem non-threatening, so he feel more relaxed to come out?
 

Nancy

Titanites
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Nov 20, 2002
Messages
5,648
Location
Dallas Texas
#6
I noticed that too, with a bimac I kept a few years ago. In the presence of a black sweater or my husband's dark striped bathrobe, she could be spooked easily, especially if we were just coming up to the tank.

Nancy
 

DWhatley

Cthulhu
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Sep 4, 2006
Messages
19,910
Location
Gainesville, GA
#7
As far as we can tell, octopuses can't see actual color. There is no physical evidence for color detection and no experimental success. They can detect shades though so it is more likely that contrast could suggest mood (like the stripes in Bill's bathrobe suggesting irritation/aggression like the skunk strip we often see in the octos). Dark or light clothing would also be detectable so it is even possible that different species might view a white shirt differently. Mercatoris' and Briareus' relaxed color is primarilly white where hummelincki is mottled and white is reserved for startled.
 

Members online

No members online now.