Did someone say “dress up?” Oh man, there is nothing more fun than putting on costumes, especially for a masquerade party – – the makeup, the wig, plus clothes you would never ordinarily wear in public. Yessss! It’s all degrees of mischievous fun, especially the thrill of shocking your friends when they don’t know it’s you.
Who knew that animals have masquerade parties of their own? Oh yeah! Of course, their masquerades usually involve life and death, but who’s counting? Most of us are familiar with the mimicking abilities of land animals. But you might be surprised to know that ocean animals do it even better. They practically have their own year-round Halloween going on down there! From crocodile fish, cuttlefish and trumpetfish, to leaf scorpion fish, leafy sea dragons and stonefish, the list is quite incredible. And that is hardly the beginning!
There is one marine animal who is truly the master of disguise: the Mimic Octopus. The Mimic Octopus takes dress-up to a whole new level. This amazing creature can mimic fifteen, yes fifteen, other species to catch its prey and/or hide from it.
Found exclusively in Indonesia and Malaysia, the Mariana Realm of Enchantails, the Mimic Octopus is among the most fascinating camouflaging animals of the ocean. It is one of the few octopi that can tunnel and burrow under the sand. The Mimic’s body is soft and muscly, without a spine or armor, and is naturally brown with white stripes or spots and long whirling legs. The Mimic typically eats small fish, crabs, and worms. Its mimicry allows it to prey upon animals that would normally run from an octopus. For example, they can imitate a crab as an apparent mate, only to devour the unsuspecting suitor. In order to avoid becoming prey itself, the Mimic can impersonate several venomous animals, such as the venomous sole, lion fish, banded sea snake, sea anemone, and jellyfish. It actually chooses which form to copy by sizing up the animals around it and impersonating the most lethal one. Mimics are the only aquatic species known to do this.
I admit I’ve become rather obsessed with the Mimic Octopus and would encourage anyone to search YouTube and see these amazing under-sea animals in action. Not only am I proud that the Mimic is part of our Enchantails world, I’m inspired. I think I may have found my Halloween costume for this year!