An octopus has been seen changing the colour of its skin on its entire body from light to dark while it sleeps – and experts say it may be dreaming of a predator.
Footage shows the pale white creature pulsing as vein-like patterns emerge on its skin, becoming increasingly darker and spreading over its entire body.
Octopuses are well known for their advanced abilities to camouflage their bodies in response to threat.
One researcher believes the clip shows evidence of an octopus equivalent of REM sleep, with the marine animal responding to some imagined creature.
In an interview with LiveScience, Sara Stevens, a specialist with Butterfly Pavilion zoo in Colorado discusses her thoughts on the footage.
‘The exact processes of how they match colors is still not fully understood, though it’s being very thoroughly studied, Ms Stevens said.
‘Current research suggests that the actual cells themselves can match colors. But the jury’s still out on whether they’re achieving REM sleep.’
Octopuses can actively change their skin colour to either make themselves either invisible, or stand out, with a striking pattern depending on their surroundings.