Fish imitates an octopus that imitates a fish

By Muriel Kane
Friday, January 6, 2012 21:02 EDT
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The so-called Mimic Octopus has become well known for its ability to imitate any number of other sea creatures, ranging from flatfish to crabs to sea snakes.

But now it turns out that at least one black-marble jawfish has found a way to ensure its own safety by swimming close to the Mimic Octopus and blending in with its tentacles. (It can be seen in the photo above between the two tentacles on the right.)

Last summer, researcher Godehard Kopp filmed the jawfish doing its mimic act and sent the video to biologists at the California Academy of Science. Their response? “We’ve never seen anything like that before.”

The scientists doubt that the jawfish evolved its coloration and ability to wriggle like a tentacle for purposes of camoflage, because the species is found throughout the Pacific, while the Mimic Octopus lives only around Indonesia and Malaysia.

But then again, they speculate that it might be a new species, distinguished from its cousins by its habit of hanging out with octopuses.

This video was uploaded to YouTube by reeffish10 on November 14, 2011.

Muriel Kane
Muriel Kane
Muriel Kane is an associate editor at Raw Story. She joined Raw Story as a researcher in 2005, with a particular focus on the Jack Abramoff affair and other Bush administration scandals. She worked extensively with former investigative news managing editor Larisa Alexandrovna, with whom she has co-written numerous articles in addition to her own work. Prior to her association with Raw Story, she spent many years as an independent researcher and writer with a particular focus on history, literature, and contemporary social and political attitudes. Follow her on Twitter at @Muriel_Kane
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