Last week we discussed 3 of the most common/easily identified octopus of Lembeh. This included the Long Arm, Coconut and Blue Ring Octopus. While any octopus is an exciting find it is the next few that receive the most animated reactions when they are spotted.
The following 4 octopus are some of the most seldom seen animals in Lembeh so if you’ve ever seen just one of these then you know it was a special occasion!
Firstly the Wunderpus. While it may have the best name of any of the Octopus ‘Wunderpus Photogenicus’ it does not exactly like to show off for the camera. These creatures are amazing but scarce. The Wunderpus spends most of its time hiding in the sand with only an inch of its head poking out the top looking for both prey and predators. Their eyes sit upon long stalks which means they can peer across the sand without revealing themselves. They colouration is predominately dark red/brown with white spots and this covers their body and each arm and leg. These rare creatures can be found during both during night and daylight hours. They are often mistaken between an even rare octopus, the Mimic Octopus.
The Mimic Octopus is even more rare than the Wunderpus so it is a really special dive if you come across one of these. They are the same shape and size of the Wunderpus and they have incredibly similar markings and patterns. There are a couple of differences to note though. Firstly, the eyes are not on long stalks like the Wunderpus but rather only very slightly raised from the body. The most notable difference however is the presence of a white bar which lines the bottom of each arm and leg of the Mimic. This noticeable white bar is absent in the Wunderpus so pay close attention when you approach them. The Mimic is notoriously shy and can disappear down its hole in a matter of milliseconds. They get their name from their apparent ability to mimic other animals under the sea. They use this mimicry as a form of defense and they have been documented to impersonate flounder, lionfish, sea snakes among others! Seeing a Mimic Octopus out and about is as rare as it is memorable.
The second most rare octopus we have in Lembeh is the Hairy Octopus. This is one of the most talked about creatures that people seem to never get to witness. We have many people who try to claim they don’t exist as they’ve been trying for years to see them with no success! These fantastic creatures are only a few centimetres in size and are incredibly well camouflaged due to its long hair filaments which cover its body. Its colouration of white, red and brown means it blends in perfectly with the sandy rubble around the strait. Not much is known about these octopus, their behaviour or their distribution so it is even harder to find them. We have only seen them between the months of October and December so this short window really makes it one of the most exciting animals to see underwater!
Finally, the most elusive of the octopus and perhaps the most elusive of all the creatures found in Lembeh is the Starry Night Octopus! This animal is very seldom seen and can disappear for months or even years without a sighting. Finding one of these on a night dive truly is a unique experience and one that should not be taken lightly! They can be only found at night when they come out to hunt and are very easily identifiable. They have bright red bodies covered in white markings (or stars) as well as very bulbous head, giving it such a unique appearance.Once again, very little is known about these animals as finding enough of them to research them is proving difficult!
So which of these 4 rare octopus have you been lucky enough to see? Which is top of your bucket list?