Do you love this? I love this!

"Wonder octopus" by Jenny (JennyHuang) from Taipei - Flickr. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons -

Photo: Jenny (JennyHuang) CC 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons –

And look, there’s more!

Photo: A. Kerstitch

Alarm display of female from Vanuatu; aquarium photo by A. Kerstitch, in Hochberg,et al.

What is this gorgeous stripy creature you ask?

It’s the wonderpus octopus (Wunderpus photogenicus), a stunning creature that inhabits the shallow regions of the Indo-Malaysia Pacific.

As you can imagine, this pretty wunderpus is immensely popular with underwater photographers, dive tourists, and home aquarium aficionados.

Check out this one in a home aquarium (not as big and scary as you though, is it?) –


Interestingly, like tails of humpback whales and the ears of African elephants, the markings on the wunderpus are unique to each animal, providing a way for researchers to study individuals in the wild.  This is important, because since its discovery, its popularity for aquariums has ramped up faster than marine biologists can learn about it.

Given the popularity of W. photogenicus among underwater photographers, and the ease with which volunteers can correctly identify individuals, photo-identification appears to be a practical means to monitor individuals in the wild.  (Huffard, et al)

Here’s one in the wild. Look how it sends its whole body down a small hole, chasing its own arm into the seabed where it stays to protect itself from enemies. Of course, this ability to slip its whole body through a 1cm hole, makes it almost impossible to keep in a fish tank.



Hochberg, F. G., Norman, M. D., & Finn, J. (2006). Wunderpus photogenicus n. gen. and sp., a new octopus from the shallow waters of the Indo-Malayan Archipelago (Cephalopoda: Octopodidae). Molluscan Research, 26(3), 128–140.


Huffard, C. L., Caldwell, R. L., DeLoach, N., Gentry, D. W., Humann, P., MacDonald, B., … Wong, S. (2008). Individually Unique Body Color Patterns in Octopus (Wunderpus photogenicus) Allow for Photoidentification. PLoS ONE, 3(11), e3732. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0003732