The Blanket Octopus is the Damnedest Thing I’ve Ever Seen

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Blanket-Octopus

From the “What the hell is that?” Files.

On a recent blue water fly fishing trip with Captain Ron Doerr out of Jupiter, Florida, I saw something truly strange. It looked like a woman’s scarf floating in the water. Bright red, yellow and green, it seemed to be just floating out there a foot or so under the surface. It didn’t look like a living thing, well a space alien maybe, but nothing I’d ever seen. Nothing Capt. Ron had ever seen either, in his thirty years as an offshore captain.

It drifted up next to the boat and my buddy Kristen touched it with his rod, as he is want to do, and the rod came back with some pretty scary stuff on it. It looked like jellyfish tendrils. That didn’t make sense. Jelly fish don’t just come apart when you touch them. Was it dead or alive, animate or inanimate? None of us were sure until we saw its eye. A big black creepy eye.

I stuck the go pro under the water and captured the video below. It was the video and some research that lead to an answer. We had seen a blanket octopus. One of the rarest creatures in the ocean.

The blanket octopus lives in the open ocean. It drifts nomadically in the current, solitary and obscure. This makes sightings extremely uncommon. The one we saw was a female. It’s easy to tell. They are wildly dimorphic. The females grow up to six feet in length while the males are the size of a peanut.

The stuff that came back on Kristen’s rod were tendrils. Tendrils from a Portuguese man-of-war. The blanket octopus is immune to the sting of the man-of-war and hunts them down, tearing off their tendrils. The tendrils hold their venom and remain deadly for months. The blanket octopus uses them for its own defense. It’s the honey badger of the high seas!

The blanket octopus is yet another miracle of nature I would have never seen if I didn’t fly fish.

You can learn more about the blanket octopus (HERE)

Watch the video of this amazing creature from the deep!

Louis Cahill
Gink & Gasoline
www.ginkandgasoline.com
hookups@ginkandgasoline.com
 
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4 thoughts on “The Blanket Octopus is the Damnedest Thing I’ve Ever Seen

  1. Thats pretty trippy, thanks for sharing that Louis… its amazing no matter how many years one spends on the water ( or under it ), we still get surprised by mad things that pop up and amaze us all over again…

    Gotta say when I first saw the first few seconds of the clip, I thought to myself these things look just like a Kona Head type billfish trolling lure with all those crazy colours and the “head & skirt” kind of look to them….

    Great find, and thanks for sharing…

  2. Very enlightening Louis. Thank you for sharing.

    Fishing trips have provided me with so many terrific opportunities to see nature unfold in routine and sometimes in rather entertaining or shocking ways (e.g., dolphin vs. redfish as prey in shallow water and Hammerhead vs. tarpon as prey on flats, both turning out as rather stunning displays of hunt, chase, and kill; raptors diving and grabbing fish; and of course grizzlies). I go out for the fishing, which still (for me) provides magic every time, but sometimes the sideshow is THE show.

    This is one reason why I introduced my kids and my grandkids to fly fishing and why I am so involved with Trout Unlimited youth initiatives. Everyone should have the opportunity to experience nature up close… like you do. Thanks for the reminder and for bringing it to us through the window of the computer.

  3. I’ve Never Heard of the Blanket Octopus.
    Amazing find. . Really amazing video. .I can only hope you’ve more.. and I hope it’s available on
    You Tube. . So I can watch it a big screen. ..
    if you need an assistant next time. . call me.
    Thanks

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