Sleeping Octopus Changes Color Because It's Dreaming, Scientist Says

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Sleeping Octopus Changes Color Because It's Dreaming, Scientist Says


Scientists have added another feature to the growing list of things that make octopuses so fascinating: their skin color changes while sleeping.

In a new never-before-seen video released by PBS, the octopus named Heidi was shown to change color while sleeping upside-down in her tank. Marine biologist David Scheel, who studies Heidi in his home, said the changing of the octopus' color might be because she was dreaming.

This is because the different colors her body takes on are the same camouflage Heidi uses when she hunts and eats prey while awake, the Daily Mail reports.

The video clip is part of a PBS documentary, "Octopus: Making Contact," in which Scheel shares "remarkable discoveries" about the octopus' intelligence, personality, and skills.

The nearly two-minute-long video shows Heidi sleeping upside-down in her tank and in just a few moments, her skin begins to change color—a discovery that left Scheel suggesting that she was dreaming.


Photo Credit: Nature on PBS via YouTube


While there is no study to prove his theory yet, the biologist has an idea of what the marine animal was dreaming about.

"If she is dreaming, this is a dramatic moment," he said, as quoted by the Daily Mail.

"You could almost narrate the body changes and narrate the dream. She sees a crab and her color starts to change a little bit, then she turns all dark, octopuses will do that when they leave the bottom."


Photo Credit: Nature on PBS via YouTube


He added that it was camouflage, in which the octopus captured a crab and "she's just going to sit there and eat it, and she doesn't want anyone to notice her."

"It's a very unusual behavior to see the color come and go on her mantle like that, just to be able to see all the different color patterns flashing one after the other, you don't normally see that when an animal's sleeping," Scheel noted.




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