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Wunderpus photogenicus

Wunderpus photogenicus

The wonderpus (wunderpus) octopus (Wunderpus photogenicus) is a species of octopus in the monotypic genus Wunderpus. It is found in the shallow waters of the Indo-Malayan archipelago. W. photogenicus is a long-armed species characterised by "small eyes on elongate stalks, a long, conical papilla over each eye and a dramatic and fixed colour pattern of white bars and spots over a brown-red background".


W. photogenicus is often confused with the similarly coloured Mimic Octopus, Thaumoctopus mimicus. Both T. mimicus and W. photogenicus can have variable activity patterns, however T. mimicus is most often active during the day, while Wunderpus tends to emerge very slowly from dens in the sand at dusk and dawn, and forages in the early evening and morning.

Wunderpus photogenicus

Pale white/yellowish markings on a rusty brown background. The edges of these markings are clear. Each of these pale and brown areas is fairly uniform in colour, even on the side of the mantle. The brown background is solid, leaving no isolated dark patches.

--White “V” not evident on posterior mantle.

--No dark area below eyes when viewed from the side

--No bright white line along suckers

--One or two patches of red pulse between the eyes

--Eyes are on long stalks.

Thaumoctopus mimicus

--Border between pale and dark brown areas on the T. mimicus is subjective. The dark areas are mottled, making it difficult to identify where they begin and pale areas end, especially on the side of the mantle. Pale areas connect, while many brown areas can be dark “islands” of colour.

--Bright white “V” on the posterior mantle.

--Dark area below eye when viewed from the side.

--Bright white line along base of suckers.

--Shades of maroon are sometimes visible under the eyes of T. mimicus however they are under rather than between the eyes and they do not move.

--Eyes are on short stalks.


  • Hochberg, F.G., M.D. Norman & J. Finn 2006. Molluscan Research 26(3): 128–140. ISSN 1323-5818

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