A marine biologist recently had a remarkable encounter with one of the ocean’s most elusive creatures, witnessing its mesmerizing dance above the Great Barrier Reef. The creature in question is a vibrant blanket octopus, known for its rarity in the wild.
Rare blanket octopus discovered in Great Barrier Reef
Jacinta SҺaᴄƙleton, reef guide and marine biologist, working off Lady Elliot Island in the Great Barrier Reef discovered the rare creature during a marine survey.
Jacinta SҺaᴄƙleton said: “The first ᴛι̇ɱe I saw it, I thought it might be a young fish with long fins. But when I got closer, I realized it was a blanket octopus which is very rare in the wild. I felt so happy and excited. I screamed through my snorkel.”
SҺaᴄƙleton has posted pictures and videos of the octopus in the handle on her Instagram. The colors on the blanket octopus’ ‘cloak’ are amazing and it’s fascinating to watch how it moves through the water.
Blanket octopus moving in water
“For me, this is definitely a once-in-a-lifeᴛι̇ɱe encounter, I feel very grateful,” the marine biologist shared.
According to Jacinta SҺaᴄƙleton, before she saw the blanket octopus, the creature had only appeared three ᴛι̇ɱes in an inhabited area.
The blanket octopus spends most of its life cycle in the open ocean, so it’s unusual to see this creature on the reef.
While female octopuses can grow up to 2 meters long, males are only up to 2.4 cm long. Interestingly, the males also did not develop the colorful, iridescent ‘blanket’ as the creature’s name suggests.
The blanket octopus has 2 long tassels and is attached by membranes. In addition, it also has other normal tassels. When threatened, they will spread their membrane to defend themselves and measure the size of the opponent.
Females have large ‘blankets’, capable of covering them as a way to evade predators. Jacinta SҺaᴄƙleton described first seeing a blanket octopus moving through the water as if it were dancing on the water with a cape. The vibrant colors are so amazing that one can’t take their eyes off it.
SҺaᴄƙleton added, “Seeing one in real life is indescribable, I was captivated by its movements, as if it were dancing across the water with a flowing cape. the color is so amazing, you can’t take your eyes off it. I’ve really never seen anything like it before and don’t think I’ll ever have it again in my life.”