Photo credit: Jacinta Shackleton
Photographer and marine biologist Jacinta Shackleton, managed to capture a rarely seen blanket octopus while diving off the coast of Lady Elliot Island in Queensland, Australia on January 6th. How did they get their name? Blanket octopuses are known for their long, transparent webs that connect the dorsal and dorsolateral arms of the adult females. That’s right, only the females have capes, which can be used to distract predators.
Blanket octopus are most commonly found in the open ocean, so finding one in shallow waters, much less a female, is definitely a rare sight. One interesting fact is that blanket octopodes are immune to the venomous Portuguese man o’ war, whose tentacles the male and immature females rip off and use for offensive as well as defensive purposes.
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When I first saw it I thought it could have been a juvenile fish with long fins, but as it came closer I realised it was a blanket octopus and I was overjoyed and couldn’t contain my excitement. The colors in her cape were incredible and it was fascinating to watch the way she moved through the water. Surely a once-in-a-lifetime encounter for me, so grateful,” said the photographer.