Post link 05 February 2015, 21:33
PUBLISHED: 10:17, 4 February 2015

Spot the octopus! Amazing moment marine creature camouflages itself against a reef is captured on video

- A diver in the Caribbean saw an octopus reveal itself against a coral reef
- The cephalopod springs into view as it changes its tone and texture
- Octopuses can camouflage themselves to hide from predators
- They use thousands of colour-changing cells known as chromatophores
- But how they do this is unknown exactly - as they are 'colour blind'

The moment an octopus camouflaged itself against a coral reef to become invisible has been revealed in an amazing video.

The footage shows what appears to be just a lifeless reef area.
But as the diver approaches, the octopus suddenly jumps into view as it deactivates its ‘cloaking mechanism’.

When a snorkeler dove down to get a closer look at a cool shell, he was surprised when a perfectly camouflaged octopus emerged from the reef.

The footage was captured by Jonathan Gordon in the Caribbean.
‘I dove down to have a look at the shell that you can see just under where the octopus appears and as I approached the octopus came out of hiding,’ he said.

The ability of octopuses to match their surroundings with chromatophore cells might be impressive.
But sloths have a rather more primitive method - by letting algae grow on them.
They move so slowly, algae and fungi have enough time to grow on the animal’s long hair as they hang from the trees, researchers have found.

Yet instead of washing the algae away, sloths use it to feed their young and it also doubles up as an effective green camouflage for the tree-dwelling creatures.

The ability was revealed in a study by researchers from the University of Helsinki, who looked at the fur and algae at a molecular level to examine this relationship.

‘I had literally no idea he was there until I was about a metre away.’
Octopuses are one of a few marine creatures that can camouflage themselves underwater; others include the cuttlefish and squid.

The cephalopod - a mollusc with its arms attached to its head - can not only change the tone of its skin to match its surroundings, but also its texture to blend in.
Incredibly, they are able to do all this despite being colour blind. Scientists still aren’t quite sure how they know what the colour of the object their hiding against is.

It may be they are able to detect slight contrasts in colours by filtering it in their body, or proteins in their skin and eyes known as opsins may be the cause of its amazing ability.
Perhaps, still, it is just a case of natural selection - it might be that some have evolved the ability to match certain colours, and thus are able to survive.

Hidden on a coral reef, the octopus prepares to deactivate its 'cloaking mechanism'
The octopus is all but invisible to the naked eye - until it starts to shed its camouflage
As the video progresses, the octopus starts to become visible. ‘I dove down to have a look at the shell that you can see just under where the octopus appears and as I approached the octopus came out of hiding,’ said Jonathan Gordon, the diver who captured the footage

Octopuses camouflage themselves to hide from predators, and when they reveal themselves they can increase their size (shown) to make them look even more intimidating

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To change the colour of its skin, an octopus has thousands of colour-changing cells known as chromatophores beneath the surface of its skin.

These contain an elastic sac full of pigment, the colour of which can be altered.
The sacs can also be expanded or contracted by an array of nerves, and when it is expanded the colours become more visible.

By controlling the size of projections on its skin known as papillae, an octopus can also change the texture of its skin from bumps to spikes.

This means they can not only match the colour of a reef, but its texture as well.
They attach themselves to solid objects to camouflage and, if discovered, they ‘puff’ themselves up in size to make them look more intimidating.

One of the reasons octopuses camouflage themselves is to hide from predators. If threatened, they can also spray ink in the face of their attacker before making a quick getaway.

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