The octopus is an amazing creature that lives here at Henderson Bay and it is very special when you can find one of these shy, elusive creatures.
We are fortunate to have two different species of octopus, the common octopus or Macroctopus maorum and the common Sydney octopus or Octopus tetricus. The easiest way to identify which is which is by the colour of the eyes. The common octopus has orange eyes while the common Sydney octopus has white eyes.
These shy creatures however can be quite hard to see so here is a step by step guide on what to look for in order to maybe find one. These steps and numbers relate to the photograph to the right and is how the area would look if you were standing there, which is why it is not an enlarged photo.
1. Look for disturbed sand, often a different colour
2. Look for a large rock that can hide a wheke
3. look for loose rocks that have been moved close to the large rock (2) and has the disturbed sand look (1)
4. Find the wheke behind the moved rocks (3)
Once you have spotted the wheke, or octopus take time and watch it. You will soon see that it breathes through a tube to the side and the way it moves it’s tentacles, curling them in and out to form koru patterns can be quite mesmorizing. If you get a bit close you will be able to see the colour of the eyes so you will know which of the two species here you are looking at. You may also see the wheke pull more rocks towards its hidey hole.Â Below is a selection of photos showing the eyes so you can clearly see the difference as weill as how well they can hide. The last photo of the first line is the same wheke in the photograph above.
Click on each photo below to view more detail.
All photos have been taken at Otaipango – Henderson Bay
The following video shows the common sydney octopus breathing and pulling rocks around.
Filmed on Location at Otaipango – Henderson Bay