Is it a sea lion? Or an ocean predator? Neither! It is the Mimic Octopus doing what it does best - mimicry! This octopus was first discovered in 1988 off the coast of Sulawesi, near a muddy river mouth. Since then, due to its excellent mimicry skills and ability to hide from predators, there has been very little research into this octopus. They are brown and white in color, but rather than blending into the background; they change their colors to appear like a predator to its own predators! They also use these unique skills to get close to their own prey, who does not assume anything until it is too late.
There are very few zoos and aquatic parks worldwide that have these mysterious and reclusive creatures, but you should definitely see this octopus if you have the chance to. Though they are not poisonous to humans, you should still avoid touching or handling them, which may scare them. Do you want to know more about Mimic Octopus facts for kids and other fish? Then read on.
What do they prey on?
Small crustaceans, sea snake, small fish
What do they eat?
Average litter size?
How much do they weigh?
How long are they?
How tall are they?
What do they look like?
Brown, white, black
What are their main threats?
What is their conservation status?
Where you'll find them
Sea, ocean floor
Mimic Octopus Interesting Facts
What type of animal is a Mimic Octopus?
The Mimic Octopus (Thaumoctopus mimicus) is a type of octopus.
What class of animal does a Mimic Octopus belong to?
The Mimic Octopus (Thaumoctopus mimicus) is a type of cephalopod.
How many Mimic Octopuses are there in the world?
There is no concrete data as to the number of Mimic Octopuses in the world. This is because they are very reclusive creatures and spend most of their time in hiding and as a result, can not be picked up by researchers either.
Where does a Mimic Octopus live?
The Mimic Octopus lives in the ocean. They are found mostly on the eastern side of the world, in Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and even Australia.
What is a Mimic Octopus's habitat?
The Mimic Octopus lives relatively high up, dwelling on the ocean floor only up to 15 m deep. This is, so they do not have to compete with other animals for territory and food resources. It is found in places like the Indo-Pacific seas, Thailand, the Philippines, the Coast of Sulawesi, and the Great Barrier Reef in the south.
Who do Mimic Octopuses live with?
The Mimic Octopus mostly lives alone. They emerge only when looking to mate. This species is particularly reclusive and wary of predators and will not be seen moving around in groups.
How long does a Mimic Octopus live?
The Mimic Octopus can live between three to five years. This is an average age range for octopuses, though some have survived up to six or seven years. This lifespan falls drastically if they are held in captivity. This is why people are actively discouraged from adding these majestic creatures to small tanks and aquariums that they will never survive in.
How do they reproduce?
The Mimic Octopuses reproduce by mating. The male dies soon after mating, and the female then lays eggs close to the ocean floor. Once done, the female dies as well. There are around 80 eggs laid, though very few actually survive because they are born without any parental support, unlike many other marine species.
What is their conservation status?
Due to lack of research into them, the IUCN list has classified them as Not Evaluated. They are excellent at hiding from prey and predator alike, and as a result, elude many researchers who delve into the waters in search of this shape-shifting creature.
Mimic Octopus Fun Facts
What do Mimic Octopuses look like?
They are a small species with two horns on their head. They are about as wide as a pencil at their thickest diameter. Usually, they are colored a light brown and white beige shade, but when trying to impersonate a marine predator or any other sea creatures like the sea snakes, it makes its black bands more obvious. It has eight arms, each of which can extend in opposite directions and have suction cups on its arms. The females are often several times longer than the males, and this phenomenon is called sexual dimorphism.
How cute are they?
The Mimic Octopus is not a very cute animal. Besides, they are so good at their ability to impersonate other animals; it would be impossible to actually see how they look for an extended period of time.
How do they communicate?
The Mimic Octopus, or any other octopuses for that matter, do not speak or have vocal cords. So, all their communication is non-verbal. They can do so by changing colors, changing shapes with their arms, and using their arms, body, and other behavior to communicate.
How big is a Mimic Octopus?
The Mimic Octopus is around 60 cm. This makes the octopus almost ten times smaller than the Pacific Octopus, the world's biggest octopus at 20 ft in length.
How fast can Mimic Octopuses move?
The Mimic Octopus can move very fast. Though there is no particular number to their speed, this octopus can move very quickly across their habitat in river mouths, ocean floors, and other places.
How much does a Mimic Octopus weigh?
The Mimic Octopus has sexual dimorphism, which means that the females are often much larger than males. The males weigh around 5-6 lb, whereas the females can weigh up to 20 lb.
What are their male and female names of the species?
There is no particular name for the male and female of the Mimic Octopuses.
What would you call a baby Mimic Octopus?
There is no specific name for baby Mimic Octopuses. However, if you ever visit a zoo or see them in an ocean aquarium, the handlers must have a name for them! It is very rare for them to be in zoos too, because it is a very complicated task to catch them, and then to transport them to a facility safely.
What do they eat?
Mimic Octopuses prefer to be around river mouths, estuaries, or in the sea's shallow waters because it reduces the chances of getting caught by a predator and getting easy access to food. They are carnivores and eat smaller animals like small fish, sea snakes, crabs, and more.
Are they dangerous?
No, they are not dangerous to humans other than their suction cups. They can stick to you and can be a nightmare to get off. If you are prepared with the information on getting them off your body, you are ready to meet this marine creature in its natural habitat - the ocean. Unlike many other octopuses, this species has no poison.
Would they make a good pet?
No, this species would make terrible pets. Not only because they do not do well outside their marine habitat, but also because they are susceptible to changes and require an extreme level of care. This involves maintaining their diet, monitoring behavior, and ensuring they do not get bored. This species has been known to escape their cages and aquariums if they get too bored. Therefore, these species are best left behind in the ocean or the sea, where they can exhibit their natural behaviors and live well. Also, they are reclusive, function mostly at night, and will not demonstrate any of their shape-shifting abilities.
Did you know...
It is very easy to draw your own Mimic Octopus! Because of their constantly changing shape, there are various shapes, sizes, and ways to draw this creature. All you have to do is draw its eight arms, and color in the brown and white bands. You can even color them darker if you so wish because the octopus changes colors too. You can even extend their limbs or curl them up, or maybe make unique shapes out of their tenacles, because they sure can. Lost or confused? You can refer to the images above, or ask your parents for help. Happy drawing!
Can you keep a Mimic Octopus?
No, it is not recommended that you keep this species as a pet. Not only is there no data on these ocean animals, but they are also not suited to living in a tank. They lack mental stimulation, develop mental illnesses, and often escape from even the most tightly sealed tanks, causing them to die out of water. Also, a lot of countries have banned the trade of these creatures. However, zoos, aquariums, and other academic societies can still purchase these species either online or through independent vendors. The prices start around $200, and it is not recommended that individuals attempt to purchase them.
How many animals can the Mimic Octopus mimic?
They can impersonate several species (up to 15), though they impersonate some more than others. Their favorite mimicry is of the banded sea snake, which it does to ward off marine fish who are predators for the Mimic Octopus but are hunted by the sea snake. It also performs mimicry of crabs, the sea lion, zebra sole, jellyfish, and more. It does so by positioning its arms in different ways, contorting its body, hiding or extending certain parts of its body and behavior to make it appear as if they are predators (such as the sea snake), or other marine fish across the Indo-Pacific.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our mimic octopus coloring pages.
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