Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Day Octopus

For me, the octopus is the most fascinating animal in the ocean and each encounter is a special treat. What other creature can change its shape, color and texture with such ease? An octopus can slither across the seafloor like a puddle of quicksilver or shoot through the water column like a jet. It can disappear into a crack smaller than one of its arms and cover its escape with a cloud of ink. Beyond all this, octopi are remarkably clever and seem to be very curious about divers. Sometimes we'll see one withdrawal into its lair as we approach. But, if we linger out of its line of sight, it will rise up to look for us, telescoping its eyes to an almost comical extent. There are several species of octopus found along the Kona coast but the Day Octopus (Octopus cyanea) is by far the most frequently seen by divers. As the imaginative common name implies, it is active during the daylight hours as opposed to most octopl which are nocturnal. Normal size is a span of around three feet and a weight of 4-5 pounds. However, recently a spearfisherman made the local paper by bagging a monster that weighed in at a whopping 16 pounds.

All photos Copyright 2009 by Barry Fackler

The photos in this post are all of the same octopus taken just moments apart. This particular octopus was watching me as I was trying to photograph another one hiding in the reef. You can see how the color and texture can change. 

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