While it may seem like the title to a children's book, the Gloomy Octopus or 'Octopus tetricus' is infact a real species. Found in Australian waters this species grows quite large and is commonly found wedged into crevices and between rocks.
When diving in Australia if you're careful enough to keep a look out for these critters you can easily find them by following the trail of crab shells, mussel shells and other bivalve shells to their hidden lair. An exceptionally strong cephalopod these octopus can use shells and other debri as literal shields blocking the entrance to their home.
If you look closely at the pictures featured you will notice a shell in the bottom left hand corner. This particular octopus would use this shell as a door, closing it everytime I got too close. We played this game of cat and mouse for a while until it got comfortable enough with me to get these pictures.
Like others of its family the Gloomy Octopus has remarkable camouflage abilities, able to recreate exceptional patterns and textures to pinpoint accuracy. Often times you can easily overlook an octopus until you see its eye. While this species are labeled as 'gloomy' you can often coax them from their homes simply by looking at them, intensely curious, this octopus is always inspecting new objects and animals, a sure sign of intelligence in my books.
How about yourself? Have you noticed octopus behaviours while diving? Let me know in the comments below.