Comments from Our Readers
Can you spot the animal hiding in this picture?  Where?

Not really! It could probably be seen a bit better in a much higher resolution photo. It
is very difficult to see in this photo but from the video I found, it's attached to the
large "plant' form located in the centre of the photo, on the lower right side of the
Marcelle Comeau
Another interesting quiz, O' Fearless Leader! The octopus is hiding in the algae on the
sea floor. It is really amazing how it is able to camouflage itself. The octopus matches
not just the color and pattern of the algae on which it's hiding but the texture, too.

Imagine if humans were able to camouflage themselves like the octopus!!!!
Remember when we were young and played "Hide 'n Seek"? That octopus really has
the "hide" part down!!!!!      Team Fletcher, Grace Hertz and Mary Turner
Grace Hertz and Mary Turner
Team Fletcher
To be honest, I could not see the animal until I found the video of him/her coming out
of hiding.  The head is the lower right protrusion and his eye is the hole looking thing.
Nancy Nalle-Mackenzie
Cann't prove it, but the line in the picture makes me believe that a scorpionfish could
be hiding in the lower left corner next to the octopus.

Fantastic video. Learned a lot about the octopus. It's camouflage capability is amazing.
Arthur Hartwell
Quite fascinating to watch and now i don't feel so bad that I can never see them
at the aquariums!
Jane Himmel
Thanks for the video link.  It was particularly cool when he showed the reverse of the
octopus moving away from the algae.
Janice M. Sellers
I recognize this fantastic octopus from my fondness for nature television. If you
divide the bushy-looking object into quadrants (vertically and horizontally), the
octopus is mostly in the lower right one.

Its effectiveness is so complete, I remember being amazed that the photographer
could spot it before it moved and changed shape and color.
Collier Smith
It's the closest thing in nature to an "invisibility cloak". Pretty intense. Very cool.
Joe Ruffner
I started my search with "dead coral" thinking the quiz might have something to do
the impact of global warming on coral reefs. Got lots of hits but nothing jumped out.
Then I wondered if there was something hiding in plain sight so I tried searching on
"undersea camouflage"  and finally came upon some photos that looked like the quiz
photo. Diggng a bit deeper, I finally found that Roger Hanlon video where he actually
caught the octopus. Wow!

Great quiz!
Marcelle Comeau
That's amazing. I was familiar with the octopus finale, but my daughter and I were
rapt watching the full 6 minutes. Now we're going to google 'underwater waterfalls'!!!
Joe Ruffner
It is truly amazing what an octopus can do to hide himself. Really impressive to say
the least! Gotta say that sometimes I wish I was an octopus or a tiny, unnoticed fly
on the wall. :)

I have never heard the term "anti-photo" before now. What exactly does it mean? I
have only seen it used in terms of voyeurism, but this octopus knew full well that he
was being tracked and watched. LOL Isn't that the reason he was hiding himself in
the first place?
Cynthia Costigan
N.B.  I made the term up.  There are usually clues in the photo to help you answer
the question.  In this case, it was the lack of clues that should have launched you in
the right direction. - Q, Gen.
Yes, I did get to see the entire video! Imagine right there to watch the entire process!
Grace Hertz and Mary Turner
Team Fletcher
Okay It is an octopus. I did not know they could do that -- looks like a clump of kelp
in an open area. Video on Tineye very interesting.

They are more often found hiding in crevices and what you see most of the time is
their tentacles or suckers. They are easily spooked out in the open.

I have seen one caught on a fishing charter boat change from a brown color to white
to match color of white cooler.
Mike Dalton
N.B.  I hope you threw it back in the water. - Q. Gen.
My eyes are starting to blur. Now I am imagining something to the right of the green
clump, under or blending in with the sand.  A sand shark? A flounder?  Wait is that
the snout of a crocodile?   Obviously my eyes or brain are playing games.   As
Hapgood in the play of that name Bt Stoppard,"I wait to be told. "
Nelsen Spickard
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Quiz #414 Results
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Answer to Quiz #414 - October 6, 2013
1. Can you spot the animal hiding in this picture?  Where?
2. What is the name of the animal?
3.  What does it do to camouflage itself?
Congratulations to Our Winners

Marcelle Comeau                Nancy Nalle-Mackenzie
Donna Jolley                Gus Marsh
Sharon M. Levy                Arthur Hartwell
Mike Dalton                Kelly Fetherlin
Jane Himmel                Janice M. Sellers
Jim Kiser                Cynthia Costigan
Collier Smith                Sawan Patel
Joe Ruffner                Margaret Paxton
Nelsen Spickard

Grace Hertz and Mary Turner
Team Fletcher

Robert Edward and Donald McKenna
Quiz Poets Laureate

An Octopus under water is seen,
hiding itself in a bush.

To the Octopus It is not a feat.
However, no Houdini could thus perform,
Nor  slight of hand could equal.
It is out of our world!

Or at least to our given ability .
"The fault is not in our Stars,
But in our selves,
that we are underlings".

(Julius  Ceasar)

Therefore, The Animal wins again!

Robert Edward and Donald McKenna
Quiz Poets Laureate

winkle twinkle little squid
How I wonder where you've hid.
You look like kelp, your arms turn green
Keeping you from being seen.
Twinkle twinkle little squid
How I wonder where you've hid.

Colleen Fitzpatrick PhD
Understudy to Quiz Poets Laureate
Robert Edward and Donald McKenna
The Mimic Octopus - A Different Approach to Camouflage
1. Lower right area of the large bush.
2. An octopus, specifically an octopus vulgaris, a Cephalopod
3.  Changes the color, texture, and shape of its skin.
Underwater Astonishments
How Do They Do It?
You may also see this video on Science Friday at:
Click on thumbnail of report to read
Roger Hanlon and Raymond Hixon's
analysis of how cephlopods camouflage
Excerpts from Roger Hanlon's paper on cephlopod camouflage.
The Cephlopod Chromatophore
The color patterns of cephalopods are
largely controlled by chromatophore
organs. A chromatophore organ is
composed of a single chromatophore cell
and numerous muscle, nerve, glial and
sheath cells. Pigment granules lie within
the chromatophore cell in an intracellular
sac, the cytoelastic sacculus, that has
elastic walls. Four to twenty four radially
arranged muscle cells, with their
associated nerve and glial cells, attach to the cell membrane where the latter is anchored
to the cytoelastic sacculus around its equator. The contraction of the muscle cells
stretches the lenticular sacculus into a thin, flat disc with serrated edges. The diameter
of the sacculus expands up to about 7 times its retracted state which is equivalent to an
increase in area of about 50 times. Retraction of the chromatophore apparently results
from the elastic nature of the sacculus walls. Primary infoldings and pouches of the
chromatophore appear in its upper and lower surfaces during chromatophore retraction
and disappear during chromatophore expansion. These foldings are anchored to the
sacculus at various points on its surface. The rather structureless sheath cells (not
shown in drawing) presumably enable the slippage of the chromatophore organs within
the dermis of the skin.
Coleoid cephalopods have complex
multicellular organs which they use to
change colour rapidly. This is most
notable in brightly coloured squid,
cuttlefish and octopuses. Each
chromatophore unit is composed of a
single chromatophore cell and numerous
muscle, nerve, glial and sheath cells.
Inside the chromatophore cell, pigment
granules are enclosed in an elastic sac,
called the cytoelastic sacculus. To change
colour the animal distorts the sacculus
form or size by muscular contraction,
changing its translucency, reflectivity or
opacity. This differs from the mechanism
An infant cuttlefish, using background
adaptation to mimic the local
used in fish, amphibians and reptiles, in that the shape of the sacculus is being changed
rather than a translocation of pigment vesicles within the cell. However a similar effect
is achieved.

Octopuses can operate chromatophores in complex, wavelike chromatic displays,
resulting in a variety of rapidly changing colour schemes. The nerves that operate the
chromatophores are thought to be positioned in the brain in a pattern similar to that of
the chromatophores they each control. This means the pattern of colour change
matches the pattern of neuronal activation. This may explain why, as the neurons are
activated one after another, the colour change occurs in waves. Like chameleons,
cephalopods use physiological colour change for social interaction. They are also
among the most skilled at background adaptation, having the ability to match both the
colour and the texture of their local environment with remarkable accuracy.
More Details on Cephlopod Chromatophores