Wunderpus photogenicus has done very well in adapting to its environment through the adaptation of crypsis or mimicry and camouflage.  It uses this mimicry to its advantage in a number of ways.  Though, how do we first distinguish the Wunderpus?

Wunderpus is clearly distinguished from other species of octopus by its unique coloration pattern on the mantle and tentacles.  No two Wunderpus are alike each with a very distinctive pattern of white spots much like each human has a unique fingerprint, and it is thanks to this unique coloration that scientists have been able to track and monitor specific specimens (Huffard et al. 2008).  Not to mention, the Wunderpus is a very small species of long-armed octopus.  In a study done by Hochberg, Norman and Finn, the sample of Wunderpus they received for study averaged around a total length of 230mm which is only a little over 9 inches (Hochberg et al., 2006).  Other distinguishing characteristics of the Wunderpus that separates it from the pack of other octopi species includes very small eyes on long “stalks” protruding from the mantle, a further protrusion from each eye stalk, a very striking color patteration ranging from red to reddish brown with white accent spots and markings, and smooth skin (Hochberg et al. 2006).  It is thanks to this ‘wunder’ful appearance that Wunderpus has adapted to its environment for both protection and surivival.

When it comes to movement for the Wunderpus it tends to remain quite stationary unless provoked or on the prowl for its next meal, but when it is ready to leave its sandy den, usually during the night or at dusk when The white markings that aid in camouflage can be seen on this Wunderpus. Photo credit: Nicholas Simpsonvisibility is low, it does so with a gliding motion.  Often considered to be similar to how a flounder or flatfish moves, Wunderpus moves in a gliding motion (Hanlon et al. 2007).  When the Wunderpus has finished its expedition for food it often times will return to its sandy den it can create just about anywhere, such as the picture to the left.  In the photograph only three arms are visible because it has burrowed the remainder of its body underground for safekeeping.  Some also believe that by keeping a few arms out it mimics a sea-snake to ward off predators.  Also due to its coloration many believe it may have mimicking characteristics of other poisonous species such as the lion fish to trick predators into thinking it is poisonous, but these viewpoints are still being examined and researched because the Wunderpus is quite the elusive species (Hochberg et al., 2006).

In regards to catching its prey, the Wunderpus also acts in a very specific way.  When Wunderpus comes upon a source of food it uses its tentacles to probe and locate its next meal.  When it comes into contact with a member of its primary diet of small-fish, crabs and shrimp it will grab the food source with its tentacle and draw it towards its radula.  Another very interesting function of the Wunderpus for capturing food is its ability to “web-cast.”  When coming across a source of food its tentacles will expand to block off any escape for the food and close around the prey eventually bringing it to its radula and consuming it (Hochberg et al. 2006).  It is thanks to these wonderful ways this beautiful creature has adapted to its environment that makes it such a delight to observe, especially in its natural habitat.

Great view of the Wunderpus movement in its natural habitat.
Video credit: Anilao Critters

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