This octopus changes colours in its sleep. Is it dreaming?

Octopus changing colour in its sleep suggests it’s dreaming ( ABC News )

A sleeping octopus whose colours changed overnight has prompted marine biologists to question whether or not the eight-limbed mollusc may be dreaming.

In a clip released by Nature on PBS, Dr David Scheel, a marine biologist at Alaska Pacific University in Anchorage, says he has never witnessed anything like this recorded before.

“If she is dreaming, this is a dramatic moment,” Dr Scheel says.

The clip shows the octopus climbing to the top of a tank where it settles in for the night.

The animal then proceeds to change colours multiple times.

“You can almost just narrate the body changes and … narrate the dream,” Dr Scheel said.

“So here she’s asleep, she sees a crab, and her colour starts to change a little bit,” he said as the octopus changed from white to yellow.

“Then she turns all dark. Octopuses will do that when they leave the bottom.”

From the dark colour, the octopus changes to a mix of colours including grey, mustard and black.

“This is a camouflage, like she’s just subdued a crab and she’s going to sit there and eat it and she doesn’t want anyone to notice her,” Dr Scheel said.

“It’s a very unusual behaviour to see her colour come and go on her mantle like that.”

“Just to be able to see all the different colour patterns, just flashing one after another.

You don’t usually see that when an animal is sleeping. This really is fascinating.”

https://www.abc.net.au/news/science/2019-10-01/can-octopuses-dream/11564004

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