The “mimicking miracle octopus” earns its weighty name. This new-to-science cephalopod, found in shallow waters of the Indo-Pacific, is a master impersonator, taking on the appearance and behavior of venomous or bad-tasting creatures to foil would-be predators.
What’s most unusual is the range of the mimic octopus’s repertoire: Most animal mimics impersonate just one animal—the mimic octopus impersonates several, and can switch between them rapidly.
Like other mimics, the octopus changes its coloring to disguise itself. More unusually, it can also contort its body to take on the appearance and behavior of several animals, including the lionfish, jellyfish, sea snake, a shrimp, a crab, and others.
To mimic the sea snake, for example, the octopus tucks into a hole, sticking