Octopus mimicking its follower reef fish

Krajewski, J.P., Bonaldo, R.M., Sazima, C., and Sazima, I. (2009) Octopus mimicking its follower reef fish. Journal of Natural History, 43 (3). pp. 185-190.

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Abstract

We describe a possible example of social mimicry between Octopus insularis and the small grouper Cephalopholis fulva, which frequently associate during foraging at Fernando de Noronha Archipelago, Brazil. The octopus, when swimming backwards, jet-propelled, becomes similar in colour and shape to accompanying C. fulva individuals and is therefore less conspicuous within the fish group. We regard this as an instance of social mimicry, a form of protection against visually oriented predators in which different species similar in shape and colour mingle for the advantage of grouping. Even when swimming backwards alone, O. insularis may become similar to foraging C. fulva individuals, another putatively protective behaviour. We suggest that the feeding association commonly found between O. insularis and C. fulva minimized the volutionary costs for the origin of mimicking by the octopus.

Item ID: 7868
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: social mimicry; Octopus insularis; Cephalopholis fulva; foraging association; Fernando de Noronha Archipelago; marine biology; social mimicry;
ISSN: 1464-5262
Date Deposited: 17 Dec 2009 01:05
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960501 Ecosystem Assessment and Management at Regional or Larger Scales @ 100%
Citation Count from Web of Science Web of Science 4
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