This beautiful creature can be easily identified by a dark ring around the eye. This species is a little difficult to identify by its colouration and texture because it changes color as its ages, and they can camouflage! It also does this to hide from predators. This color and texture change is caused by its special skin cells called chromatophores. The predators of this octopus include small sharks, eels, stingrays and a variety of predatory fish. When attacked or threatened the Caribbean Reef Octopus puts up a fight against its predators! If it gets the sense that it needs to take ‘flight’ instead of ‘fight’, it’ll secrete ink from its body to distract and confuse the predator while it escapes.
They can be found in waters around The Bahamas and throughout the Caribbean. They can be seen in seagrass beds and among coral reefs, hiding from predators and prey. Its diet consists mainly of crustaceans. The Caribbean Reef Octopus spreads out its body and tentacles to cover its prey, and in doing so traps it. It then bites its prey releasing venom that paralyzes it, restricting it from escaping. After being paralyzed the octopus breaks into the shell of the crustacean using its strong beak and consumes the insides.
Fun Fact: The Caribbean Reef Octopus can be seen glowing at night due to their variety of fluorescent colors. A combination of iridescent colors such as blue-green, purple, brown and white.
Written By: Tavano Sweeting
Reef Creatures Identification by Paul Humann & Ned Deloach