noaasanctuaries: A day octopus – or he’e mauli…


A day octopus – or he’e mauli in Hawaiian – sits pretty at Pearl and Hermes Atoll in Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. 

Many cephalopods have special cells in their skin tissue called chromatophores that enable them to change color very rapidly. A part of their neuromuscular system, these cells receive signals from the environment that an octopus can use to inform color change. Octopodes of this particular species can change color almost instantly as they move over their environment, making them nearly invisible to predators! 

(Photo: Andrew Gray/NOAA) 

[Image description: An orange and white octopus sits on a coral reef. The octopus’s coloration and texture makes it well-camouflaged with the coral around it.]