A documentary crew has captured stunning video of an octopus changing colour in its sleep.
The clip, narrated by marine biologist Dr David Scheel, comes from an upcoming PBS nature documentary set to air in the US next month, and shows the octopus sleeping upside down in an aquarium.
As the octopus sleeps, it begins to change colour.
“If she is dreaming, this is a dramatic moment,” Dr Scheel said, imagining the dream the octopus may be having based on its colour changes.
“She sees a crab and her colour starts to change a little bit, then she turns all dark, octopuses will do that when they leave the bottom (of the ocean).”
The colour then dramatically changes again to a speckled pattern.
“This is a camouflage,” Dr. Scheel said “like she’s just subdued a crab and now she’s going to sit there and eat it and she doesn’t want anyone to notice her.”
Dr Scheel said the rapid colour change was “very unusual behaviour”.
“To see the colour come and go on her mantle like that, just to be able to see all the different colour patterns flashing one after the other, you don’t normally see that when an animal’s sleeping.”
“This really is fascinating,” Dr Scheel added.
While Dr Scheel described the colour change as something he’d “never seen recorded before”, last year similar footage taken in 2017 emerged showing another octopus rapidly changing colour as it slept.
Cephalopods, a family of molluscs that includes octopus and squid among others, are able to change colour, but only one animal in the family has been proven to dream.
A 2012 study found cuttlefish exhibit rapid eye movement in their sleep, a key indicator of dreaming, and also displayed similar colour changes to the octopus in the video.