'mimic' activity of octopus.. saw something interesting....


O. vulgaris
Jun 12, 2004
I have heard quite a bit about the 'mimic' octopus, and how it will mimic things that it sees. Some people seem to believe this, some think it is a bunch of nonsense. Apparantly I haev seen pictures of a wonderpus doing a 'sea snake' impression, and I have heard a lot about a 'lionfish' impression. I have not seen pictures of the lionfish, so maybe what I have to say here is irrelevant ...

I understand that the 'mimic' octopus will move its body so that it shows 'horns' just like a lionfish. I would really like to see this and learn a little bit more of it. My reason is that today while playing with my octopus, OCTOROK!!, he became sort of 'defensive' and did this move I have seen before -- he takes two of his front arms and raises them up. It is sort of a 'put up your dukes' kind of look, but it is interesting because he twists his arms in a very weird fashion. It doesn't look like it would serve any kind of purpose as for an attack/defense, except as visual cues. I quickly took some videos of this. He sat completely still, in a weird body pose, with these two arms up and twisted around like 'horns' of a lionfish...

I'd like people to take a look at this and tell me if its anything like what the 'mimic' does or not. If this is the kind of behavior that these other octopus have become famous for, then I think I side with the people that say 'people see what they want to see'... otherwise, I have wasted peoples' time! :smile: I thought it was worth posting though..

Here is video of this happening. My camera is awful and cannot take stills that are not completly blurry -- video at least lets you get a feel for what is going on and makes things more visible. If people are interested and have technical problems viewing the films you can notify me and I will help you get codecs to view, or I can try to take stills from the videos... but these will be poor and useless, I can tell you that ahead of time!!


Robert :cyclops:

I have seen a vid of a mimic and;
1) Thats not it and,
2) I am half-half. The flounder-yes. The jellyfish-yes. The crab-yes. The seasnake-maybe. The lionfish-"WHAT IN THE SAM-HILL IS THAT THING MIMICING?! A LIONFISH? **** NO! SOME KINDA 'SWIMMING SPIKEBALL'!"
Hi Robert,

I am a mimic sceptic, i think that the poses of the mimic are just advertising that it is poisonous/venemous/bad tasting not actually trying to be a snake or flouder or whatever.

I liked seeing your MPEG of the octopus, I think that the pose is more likely a camouflage pose. Doesnt look like an octopus when its sits liek that, more of a kindof seaweed pose :smile:

Perhaps this in an influence from the damsels (dominos?)

very good none the less
Hey Robert,
Don't think that is a mimic pose for anything...it is often used as a defensive warning of an aggressive manuever about to be commited...as you said "put up your dukes"...the many dwarf octos we have kept did this just prior to attacking a larger animal in a mad dash (including me once...ouch) , or inking and fleeing the area. If he is doing it often, you might want to remove the offender(s), so as not to cause any more stress.
Loved the pics...send in more!
Thanks for the input everyone :tentacle:

I'm wondering if I could be directed to pictures or videos of the mimic doing its thing, online, by anyone?

Robert :cyclops:
This is the first time I've seen this pose. My bimac never did anything remotely like it, nor has anyone else reported this behavior. Have any of our other bimac owners seen their octo do something like this?

Haven't ever kept a bimac, so can't comment...the O. digueti that we kept did this frequently prior to biting...(I want to get a bimac, my wife wants another cat. Standstill.)
AS for you question on the mimic, look at the science channel schedule....they had a great special called "Incredible imposters-the mimic octopus"-er, something like it.:P (BTW, Colin, If you see that I think it'll be a bit harder to be a sceptic. :biggrin2: )
Hmmm. no the wife is dead set on another cat. which means no more animals for me, since I really don't want to have another cat in the house.
One is quite enough.
Have to agree with Colin about the mimic thing...I watched that show, and another on animal planet, and found neither to be conclusive...the one thing the mimic octo did well was mimic a rock. same as a bimac.
The threat stance they called "lionfish" looked like a blue ring threat stance. Yes, superficially it could be said to resemble a lionfish, but only if you really squint your eyes. With bright white and red bands, seems like more of an advertisement to me.
The crab manueuver was kind of interesting though, how it moved sideways on jointed looking arms like a large crab does...haven't seen that in any other octos.
Back to the arm posturing, I wonder if that may be a new world trait? Every single one of our diguetis did it when offended...hmmm.
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