The octopus is the chameleon of the sea. Or rather, the Proteus of the sea — the modern-day embodiment of the mythological hero who escaped his enemies by constantly changing his form. Indeed, the sudden changes of color and form by means of which cephalopods attempt to throw their enemies off the track are called “protean manifestation.” For cephalopods are excellent actors, with vast repertories, and they are able to play many roles by making use of stratagems which, on dry land, are usually found only in the theater: disguises, gestures, mime, poses and posturing.
The octopuses we encountered displayed all these tricks in abundance for our divers, just as they do for eels and groupers. Being without the natural protection of shells, they find safety only in flight or in disguises. They are undoubtedly the champions of hide-and-seek.