A video showing an octopus changing colour as it’s ‘dreaming’ has stunned the internet as it transforms from light to dark in the tank.
The clip will air in upcoming documentary Octopus: Making Contact alongside a researcher who says that the animal could be dreaming because the colours are the same camouflage as when they are hunting and eating prey while they’re awake.
Marine biologist David Scheel from Alaska Pacific University observes the octopus called ‘Heidi’ from the comfort of his home.
In the video – which shows Heidi sleeping upside-down in the tank – viewers can see her skin begin to change colour leaving Scheel to suggest that she could be dreaming.
He explained: “If she is dreaming, this is a dramatic moment. You could almost narrate the body changes and narrate the dream. She sees a crab and her colour starts to change a little bit, then she turns all dark, octopuses will do that when they leave the bottom.
“This is a camouflage, like she’s just subdued 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 behaviour to see the colour come and go on her mantle like that, just to be able to see all the different colour patterns flashing one after the other, you don’t normally see that when an animal’s sleeping. This really is fascinating.”
People online watched the video in awe with one person writing: “Octopuses dream! This is truly amazing! I’m not sure if it is actually dreaming, but the color changing while it is sleeping might suggest it is indeed…like Rapid Eye Movements in humans when we dream.”
Another added: “Clear evidence of dreaming in an octopus? Like a dog running in its sleep. So cool. Animals dream which means they have conscious experiences overlapping with ours.”
A third commented: “An octopus changing color while dreaming. This is the stuff of legends … and science.”
There were a few people who weren’t so fascinated by the octopus with one saying: “This may be a very stupid question but how do you know that whatever the octopus is doing is certainly dreaming? Like octopus can be doing something else we don’t understand octopus and neither they have told us that they are dreaming how do you know?”
Another said: “This octopus dreaming is what my nightmares are made of.” Bit dramatic.