Mimic questions for a journalist

Steve O'Shea

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I've received the following questions from a journalist re the 'mimic', and although I could answer them I would only be referring to the works of others. I'd sooner place the journalists questions online here so that those folk with infinitely more experience with mimics could answer them. I'll direct the journalist here for the answers to her questions.

The questions are as received by me (it relates to an article in a forthcoming kids book):
...............

1. The author of our article wrote that the arms of a mimic octopus are as thin as a pencil. I haven't been able to find any source for this, but it
doesn't seem to be true looking at the photos available online. Can you
confirm or deny this?

2. The author has also described it as having "two bulging eyes that help it see well in the murky waters where it lives." Can you let me know if this is a fair statement? Do we have any idea how well this octopus can see?

3. Finally, we say that the mimic octopus is an "amazing escape artist. If its disguise doesn't fool a predator, the octopus squirts black ink from a tube on its body." I know most (all?) octopuses produce ink as a defense, but I haven't found anything that says this species of octopus does. Can you confirm?

4) Also, is the 'tube' the ink comes from 1) actually a tube, and 2) ON or IN the octopus's body?
................
The 'tube' obviously refers to the siphon, and I would have assumed the octopus did have an ink sac.

Any comments would be apreciated.
Thanks for your help!
 

Thales

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Hey Steve,

I don't know about mimics - but maybe this bump will shake someone who does out of the woodwork.

Or, maybe you already dealt with it!
 

jhemdal

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Dec 17, 2002
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Thales,

She contacted me earlier this week through my work email, and I gave her my information about mimics, and offered them some of my images. My main caveat was that regarding the mimicry, everyone's information (including my own) is anecdotal at this point - nobody has performed in-situ research on them yet.

I couldn't answer the question about mimics inking, never saw ours do that.

Jay
 

mucktopus

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Hi Steve,

1. The author of our article wrote that the arms of a mimic octopus are as thin as a pencil.

They're a bit thicker near the web, but this comparison is about right.

2. The author has also described it as having "two bulging eyes that help it see well in the murky waters where it lives."

No idea how exactly far they can see or how clear their vision is, but they will react to a diver by ducking in their dens when the diver is at least 5+m away. I would bet they can see something large at least 10m away in their mucky habitat (vis 10-15m on a good day).


3. I know most (all?) octopuses produce ink as a defense, but I haven't found anything that says this species of octopus does. Can you confirm?

I have to check my notes but I'm pretty sure I have seen mimics ink.
 
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