Caribbean reef octopus (Octopus briareus) Date taken:
May 25, 2010 at 8:46pm Dive site:
Lea Leas Lookout (Bloody Bay Wall) on Little Cayman, Cayman Islands
While most octopuses are quickly and easily recognized for their tentacles / suckers, the Caribbean reef octopus is often said to look like a discarded parachute, its body often puffed up and covering all that's underneath it as it hunts. In this case, a night dive, I had watched this reef octopus hunt blanketing everything in its path as it smoothly moved over corals, rocks, sand, etc... After a bit of foraging, this beautiful reef octopus shot into the open water and started swimming, often changing direction and color (possibly mimicking the colors it experienced with my strobes?). I was shooting 50mm / macro so it was hard to capture the entire octopus but in the end, these strange shots in different positions really show how flexible an octopus can be! One thing to notice, the tentacles displayed show damage, some missing ends, and in some cases, subsequent regrowth.
And, if you haven't dove Bloody Bay Wall on Little Cayman yet, add it to your list; it's one of my favorite places to dive in the Caribbean. I'd strongly recommend late May as well...
My iNaturalist observation: 5097816
Wikipedia link: Caribbean_reef_octopus