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46. The Wunderpus (Wunderpus photogenicus)


The Wunderpus received its official scientific name only in 2006: Wunderpus photogenicus (Hochberg, Norman & Finn 2006). Before this, it was commonly referred to as Wunderpus, but its scientific name was simply Octopus sp. 20.

The Wunderpus prefers to partially hide beneath the substrate and thus favours soft bottoms, such as the black volcanic sand slopes found in the Indonesian archipelago. It is mostly found in the shallow waters surrounding the islands of Bali and Sulawesi.

This slender octopus species is often mistaken for the Mimic Octopus (Thaumoctopus mimicus), which shares the same habitat and geological range. However, the Wunderpus can be differentiated by its sienna/terracotta and beige coloration with a well-defined pattern, whereas the Mimic Octopus displays a potting-soil-brown and white coloration with more serrated outlines.

The Wunderpus is a solitary hunter that primarily preys on small crustaceans and occasionally small fish. It employs two different methods to capture its prey: probing and web-casting. Probing involves inserting its arms into various holes on the substrate to extract hiding prey from their burrows. To accomplish this, the Wunderpus utilises its long, slender arms and suckers to securely grasp the unfortunate creature to be consumed. The second method is web-casting, which entails rapidly spreading its arms wide and ensnaring the prey within the velum, a thin membrane connecting the octopus' arms, reminiscent of a skilled fisherman casting a net.

Unlike most octopuses, the Wunderpus has a very small ink sac and is unable to release ink as a means of defense. Consequently, it is more vulnerable to predation by mantis shrimp, moray eels, and various species of scorpion and stonefish. To counter this, the Wunderpus employs autotomy, also known as self-amputation. This behaviour involves discarding a segment of its body to evade pursuing predators. In moments of peril, the Wunderpus demonstrates the ability to relinquish one of its appendages, similar to the tail-shedding observed in lizards. Temporarily, the detached arm will wriggle independently, effectively deceiving the attacker and affording the Wunderpus an opportunity to swiftly retreat. Notably, the octopus possesses the remarkable ability to regenerate the discarded arm, further exemplifying its astonishing adaptability.


Filming in shallow water often creates light flashes generated by the sunlight hitting the water surface. It is extremely difficult to correct these shots in post-production and it would demand to correct each individual frame of the shot. That is between 24 and 60 corrections per second depending on your frame rate. Although you need to be opportunistic when filming under water you can avoid this kind of light disturbances by preserving shallow dives for cloudy days.

When filming in shallow water, a common occurrence is the presence of luminous flashes caused by the interplay of sunlight and the water's surface. These flashes can pose a significant challenge to rectify during the post-production phase, as each shot would require meticulous correction on a frame-by-frame basis. That is between 24 and 60 corrections per second depending on your frame rate. This task can be quite arduous and time-consuming.

However, there are strategies you can employ to mitigate these light disruptions when making underwater videos.

One effective approach is to seize opportunities when the weather is overcast and cloudy. By reserving your shallow dives for such conditions, you can minimise or altogether avoid the occurrence of these troublesome flashes. Cloudy days provide a diffused and less intense light source, which reduces the likelihood of intense reflections and resulting light disturbances in your footage. By being selective and mindful of the weather conditions, you can enhance the quality of your underwater filming and minimise the need for extensive

corrections in post-production.

Filming location:

This short underwater videoclip has been filmed in Bali, Indonesia 🇮🇩

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