The Caribbean Octopus

In my Marine Life posts you can find information on different types of marine animals, how to find them, and the best ways to photograph some of these creatures.

I have a long list of favorite underwater creatures but the Octopus is definitely at the top!

Let’s start with the most helpful info on how to find an octopus!

Throughout your dive look for clusters of clean shells. Octopuses live in ‘dens’ and as they collect their food (mostly crabs, lobsters, and fish) and bring it home. As they eat they will push out the empty shells. But octopuses switch their dens often so remember to look for clean ‘fresh’ shells not older dull ones. Once you find a pile of shells look carefully all around for an entrance to the lair. Most of the time you will only be able to see one of their eyes and part of an arm. Using a flashlight is the best way to find one of these guys. If you are lucky enough to find one out walking around watch carefully since the octopus is one of the best creatures on earth at disguising itself. It can change color, size, and even texture to try to mimic its surroundings.

My favorite moment ever with an octopus was on one very lucky night dive in March on St. Maarten when I was lucky enough to watch two octopuses mating! To be honest I was so enthralled that I started to wonder if it was weird how long my guests and I were watching this octo porn.

Some things your probably didn’t know about this awesome creatures-

1. Reproduction- After a female has been fertilized she can search for a lair for up to 100 days before laying eggs.

2. Reproduction- The female lays up to 500 eggs! These hatch within 50-80 days.

3. Maturity- At 140 days old octopuses reach sexual maturity.

Photographing an octopus

If you come across an octopus in their lair most of the time it isn’t worth it to try to get a stellar photo. Many divers can’t even tell what they are looking at in person let alone in a photo. Lucky divers who get to spot one of these guys out-and-about snap fast, these guys go for an escape first! If they decide they can’t out-run you the octopus will hold its ground, expand their size, and change color to try to convince you not to eat them. This will give you a few mins to adjust your settings and set your flash if you’ve got one. Get low to the ground and shoot across not pointing down at it. Getting the side angle will show the size and position of your octopus and create a more dynamic image!

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Photo credit: Leslie Hickerson (Ocean Explorers, St. Maarten)

Sources:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caribbean_reef_octopus

Image credits:

Featured image: Photographer- Leslie Hickerson (@Travel4Scuba)/ Equpiment Nikon D7000 with Ikelite Housing and single flash/ Locatoin- Little Bay (Discover Scuba Dive Site) St. Maarten

Content image: Photographer- Leslie Hickerson (@Travel4Scuba)/ Equpiment Nikon D7000 with Ikelite Housing and single flash/ Locatoin- The Old Bridge, St. Maarten

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