Vulgaris- waves of color display?


Blue Ring
Has anyone seen an octopus vulgaris displaying waves of color like a cuttlefish does? I dont know the technical term, but I'm sure you all know the "hypnotising" behavior cuttles can do.

My brother caught an excellent video of an octopus in the Caribbean doing something similar. Waves of dark color rapidly moving across its white body in one direction when startled. It also displays several other dramatic color changes on camera.

I've never come across a video of an octopus doing something like this and thought it was limited to cuttles and maybe squid.

Is it a known behavior that I just missed? Anyone have a video handy? I will of course try to get him to post the video for you guys when we get back to civilisation.

Thanks for your input!


Staff member
Gee thanks CG, now I have to dig them up :wink:. Fortunately for me, in 2013 Ceph was looking for some examples and these three were mentioned:

These are the two best I have of Mama Cass (tank born O. briareus):

And a fairly long clip of passing cloud displays from Maya (O. hummelincki):

As @cuttlegirl mentioned, we often see the "passing cloud" display on all octopus species we keep in home aquaria. It would be interesting to see (my guess is not) if the deep water animals also have a use for this display.


Blue Ring
Ahhhh, passing cloud! I knew I had heard a term for it, but couldn't remember. I didn't realize octopus did it. Our female acelitus never did it that we saw. Another local diver we just talked to said it seemed to be more common display in the younger animals.

Thank you all so much!


Staff member
Cool - hey @~Flighty~, can you share your brother's video, would love to see!

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