Marine biologist very excited after seeing very rare rainbow-colored octopus

Shackleton spotted the octopus off the coast of Lady Elliot Island in the Great Barrier Reef. “I kept screaming through my snorkel, ‘It’s a blanket octopus!’ I was so excited I found it hard to hold my breath to dive down and film it.”

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Blanket octopuses are rarely found in the wild. According to Shackleton, the octopus has only been sighted three times before in the same area. A blanket octopus generally spends its life cycle in the open ocean, so it’s even more unusual to discover one on the reef.

The first time a live male was spotted was 21 years ago. There is also a big difference between male blanket octopuses and females. While females grow up to 2 meters in length, the males do not get further than 2.4 centimeters. A female can be up to 40,000 times heavier than a male, a weight difference between the sexes that is greater than in any other animal in the world.

“I was so fascinated by the movements, it was like the animal with a billowing cape was dancing through the water,” says Shackleton. “The vibrant colors are so incredible you can’t take your eyes off them. I’ve honestly never seen anything like it and I don’t think I’ll ever see it again in my life.”

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