While snorkeling in the Caribbean a few weeks ago, this diver was investigating a shell when he found himself face-to-face with a huge surprise. An octopus had camouflaged himself to match the reef surrounding him and when he saw someone approaching, he changed his skin. He changes not only his color, but also the texture of his skin to blend in. Octopuses are part of the cephalopods group and are among the very few animals that are able to change their skin color so rapidly. They use this ability to hide, but also to stand out and frighten predators. 

This strange occurrence is caused by color-changing cells that are just below their skin's surface. Each of the cells contains a sac full of pigment (black, brown, orange, red or yellow) which they can push to the surface of their skin making a particular color stand out. In this instance, the octopus started by blending in to his surroundings, but when he thought he had been discovered, he changed his color drastically to warn this snorkeler that he knew he was there and would defend himself if necessary. If the snorkeler was to stick around, it is likely the octopus would have sprayed ink at him to cover his swift escape. 

It is amazing watching the camera close in on the reef. Each time I watch it, I still can't quite see him even though I know he is there. My first time watching, I had to catch my breath because he caught me so off-guard. Watch the video and see if you can find him before he changes his skin color and makes his presence known.