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Rare blanket octopus spotted after 20 years in Australia

The rare marine mollusc, known for its extreme “sexual size dimorphism” was last sighted in 2002.

By: Trends Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: January 19, 2022 10:29:59 am
Blanket octopus sighted after 20 years, rare blanket octopus seen after two decades in Australia, blanket octopus, Indian ExpressWhile the female blanket octopus can grow up to six feet, the male-only octopus grows up to 2.4 centimetres. (Source: Jacinta Shackleton/Instagram)

Earlier this month, Jacinta Shackleton became one of a handful of people to spot a blanket octopus. Shackleton, a marine biologist, was snorkelling near the coast of Lady Elliot Island in the Great Barrier Reef when she saw the technicolour animal.

Shackleton, who works as a content creator for Queensland’s Tourism and Events, soon shared the photos and videos of the blanket octopus on her Instagram account sparking much excitement amongst marine enthusiasts.

“When I first saw it, I thought it could have been a juvenile fish with long fins, but as it came closer, I realised it was a female blanket octopus and I had this overwhelming sense of joy and excitement,” she told The Guardian.

“Seeing one in real life is indescribable, I was so captivated by its movements, it was as if it was dancing through the water with a flowing cape. The vibrant colours are just so incredible, you can’t take your eyes off it. I’ve truly never seen anything like it before and don’t think I ever will again in my life,” she added.

Shackleton, who has been documenting marine life in the Great Barrier Reef for three years, believes that the blanket octopus has only been seen thrice before she spotted the mollusc.

According to In the New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research, what makes blanket octopuses so rare is their extreme “sexual size dimorphism”. While the female blanket octopus can grow up to six feet, the male-only octopus grows up to 2.4 centimetres. Besides, females weigh 40,000 times more than males.

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