I have found the best actor in the world.
That is insane. I tried finding some information about mimic octopuses (or octopode) in captivity, but mainly found information about them as pets, in aquariums. What I want to know is how much of this behavior is learned based on their environment, and how much of it is genetically programmed. I mean, they obviously have the brain to learn these … well, for lack of a better term, dance moves, and they have the genetic capacity to change their color to blend in, but do they only learn specific things in captivity? Do they imitate different fish when in different environments? Do they imitate certain species more often if they see that particular species frequently?
And geez, it seems like a lot of fun.
The Wikipedia article on mimic octopodes says: “The octopus mimics the physical likeness and movements of more than fifteen different species, including sea snakes, lionfish, flatfish, brittle stars, giant crabs, sea shells, stingrays, flounders, jellyfish, sea anemones, and mantis shrimp. … Based on observation, the mimic octopus may decide which animal to impersonate depending on local predators. For example, when the octopus was being attacked by damselfish, it was observed that the octopus appeared as a banded sea snake, a damselfish predator. … For example, the mimic is able to imitate a sole by pulling its arms in, flattening to a leaf-like shape, and increasing speed using a jet-like propulsion that resembles a sole. When spreading its legs and lingering on the ocean bottom, its arms trail behind to simulate the lion fish’s fins. Raising all of its arms above its head with each arm bent in a curved zig-zag shape to resemble the lethal tentacles of a fish-eating sea anemone, it deters many fish. It imitates a large jellyfish by swimming to the surface and then slowly sinking with its arms spread evenly around its body.”
I wonder what mimic octopus theatre would look like.