Reef & Rainforest
Little is known about the life-span and ecology of this rare octopus, though it has a wide but patchy distribution. It was first described in 2006. Further reseach was carried out on using the colour patterns to identify individuals. I have observed it both lying spread out half buried in silt, and hiding in holes in coral rubble with just its eyes and horns sticking out. In one situation where a ribbon eel swam overhead, the Wunderpus half emerged, spreading two arms out, and widening them to show the warning colouration.The main threat probably comes from collection for the aquarium trade.
This generally short-lived group of animals fascinate divers with their intelligence and behaviour. Octopus colouration is mostly crytic, but under stress, both colouration and skin texure changes. This is sometimes a warning of toxicity as in the Blue Ringed Octopus or Flamboyant Cuttlefish.
Squid and cuttlefish are thought to use rapidly chang-ing colours as communication.