Tag Archives: Octopus

Solstice photos

A Royal Palm in Hawaii

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Again the Solstice.’ See more responses here. I didn’t have any good ideas for illustrating the solstice so, instead, plumped for photos taken on the solstice.

The top photo, I’ve run before in 2019, but who doesn’t love a grumpy cat? The second photo, from 2021, is of a royal palm amongst other tropical foliage. These palms can grow to 70 feet tall and look very stately when planted in a row. This one was quite a bit smaller.

The bottom two photos show a Fiery Skipper butterfly on a Mesembryathemum flower in 2020, and a Pacific Day Octopus hunting in the company of a goatfish back in 2018.

Pacific Day Octopus

A Pacific Day Octopus in Hawaii
A Pacific Day Octopus extends its tentacles

Let’s face it, octopuses are just plain odd. They change color in an instant. They disappear while you’re looking at them. They shoot off with surprising speed. They disappear into cracks where you wouldn’t think you could lose a paperclip. And, while looking right at them, they will change shape, oozing out tentacles to redistribute themselves in some other place.

Posted in response to this month’s Becky’s Squares challenge theme of ‘Odd.’ See more responses here.

Watching an octopus

A day octopus in the waters off Hawaii

The easiest way to spot an octopus is to see it swimming (top photo). They’re not large creatures but they’re quite distinctive when they swim.

If they’re not swimming, one thing to look for is certain fish, such as goatfishes and jacks, just hanging around in a spot for no apparent reason. When these fish are hunting alone, they tend to be more active in probing the rocks and trying to disturb prey. But when they’re hunting with an octopus, they seem more content to let the octopus do the work and snapping up whatever emerges. I’ve found that goatfishes are particularly helpful as an octopus indicator.

A while back, there were videos online of an octopus apparently punching a goatfish. I wasn’t surprised by this. The octopuses I’ve seen don’t seem best pleased by the presence of goatfishes. Part of this might be down to feeling that the goatfishes are not pulling their weight in the hunt. But another factor might be that if goatfishes give away their position, for the octopus that can be fatal.

Octopus is a popular food in Hawaii and has long been so. If I’ve learned to look for goatfish as an indicator of their presence, then no doubt spear fishermen have too. These days, if I see an octopus when anyone’s spear fishing nearby, I don’t do anything to draw attention to it.

A day octopus in the waters off Hawaii

Day octopus squabble

A couple of days ago, I saw an octopus while snorkeling. It was on a vertical face of rock and when I showed up it slipped around the corner out of sight. I followed and could see it had gone into a recess there. I saw a tentacle moving and then, moments later, a round white thing appeared, a tentacle clasped around it.

I was mystified. I thought it might be the remains of an urchin or something. The white globe disappeared back into the depths. Moments later it appeared out of the side of the recess and it quickly became clear that the round white balloon was the head of another, completely white octopus. This white coloration is adopted when an octopus is feeling aggressive or threatened.

After a brief flurry of tentacles the white octopus disengaged, shot away a short distance, and changed color again as it landed on a rock. The octopus I’d first seen appeared again at the entrance of the recess. There was a little more to and fro before the evicted octopus gave up and moved away and the first octopus slipped back into the depths of the recess. My take on this was that the octopus I saw first wasn’t happy to find the other octopus in its lair and turfed it out.

The top photo shows the evicted octopus gathering itself after being run off. The second photo shows it on the move, still with the white coloration. The third photo shows the victor in the dispute, looking a little smug if I may say so.

Sneaky day octopus

I was almost done with my swim yesterday when I noticed this small day octopus sneaking into this crack. It was shallow there so I got a decent photo of the octopus watching me. Then I swam on a few feet. The octopus, as they do, emerged from its hideaway, so I quickly turned and got the second photo. I can be kind of sneaky, too.

Posted in response to Becky’s October Squares challenge theme of ‘Kind.’ See more responses here.

Going, going, gone

Last week I posted some octopus photos here. A few days after taking those photos, I had another octopus encounter which I enjoyed a good deal.

I swam over a rocky ledge and saw an octopus in the middle of a large, flat rock. The rock was pale, but speckled and the octopus was quite white with brown markings. When an octopus gets angry it will flush white, but that wasn’t what was happening with this one. Its paleness was an attempt to blend in.

I stopped and the octopus froze. I took a couple of photos. There was another rock a short way away with a dark area where it overlapped the rock the octopus was on. Very slowly, the octopus oozed out a tentacle toward that dark area (top photo). Once the tip reached the shadow it appeared to drop anchor. Then the body of the octopus followed, hauled along on that anchored tentacle. A few moments later, the bulk of the octopus reached the shadows and slipped from view.

It was a slow, deliberate process and I couldn’t help laughing to myself. It appeared as though the octopus hoped that by sliding off in this incremental way I wouldn’t notice its departure. Such a pretty octopus though.