Shackleton discovered an octopus off the coast of Lady Elliot’s Island in the Great Barrier Reef. “I kept screaming through my breathing tube, ‘It’s an octopus blanket!’ I was so excited because I found it hard to hold my breath to dive in and photograph it.”
Blanket octopuses are rarely found in the wild. According to Shackleton, octopuses have only been seen in the same area three times before. Mass octopuses generally spend their life cycle in the open ocean, so it is unusual to spot them on coral reefs.
The first time a man was seen alive was 21 years ago. There is also a big difference between male and female octopus blanket. While females reach 2 meters in length, males are no more than 2.4 centimeters in length. The female can be up to 40,000 times heavier than the male, which is the largest difference in weight between the sexes than any other animal in the world.
“I was so fascinated by the movements, it was as if the animal in a spiked robe was dancing in the water,” Shackleton says. “The vibrant colors are so incredible you can’t take your eyes off them. I honestly have never seen anything like this and don’t think I will ever see them again.”
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