Thursday, November 16, 2006

from "The Octopus and the Squid - The Soft Intelligence" by J.Y. Cousteau

The octopus is the chameleon of the sea. Or rather, the Proteus of the sea -- the modern-day embodiment of the mythological hero who escaped his enemies by constantly changing his form. Indeed, the sudden changes of color and form by means of which cephalopods attempt to throw their enemies off the track are called "protean manifestation." For cephalopods are excellent actors, with vast repertories, and they are able to play many roles by making use of stratagems which, on dry land, are usually found only in the theater: disguises, gestures, mime, poses and posturing.

The octopuses we encountered displayed all these tricks in abundance for our divers, just as they do for eels and groupers. Being without the natural protection of shells, they find safety only in flight or in disguises. They are undoubtedly the champions of hide-and-seek.


Kid D said...

By day, when hungry fishes prowl, an octopus hides in its den: under rocks, in holes or empty shells or shallow depressions on the seafloor. But under the cover of twilight, an octopus turns hunter, stalking crabs, shrimp and snails.

skippy said...

nice kid D! sounds like a good life to me.