Jan 17 2014

Friday Cephalopod: The loveliest bracelet ever

Say…has she painted her fingernails to match the mottling pattern of the octopus’s skin? I find that strangely attractive.


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  1. 1
    congenital cynic

    Wouldn’t it be the other way round? Octopus copying the nice pattern on her nails?

  2. 2

    What congenital cynic said, above.

    Do individual octopuses (or octopus species) have definable coloring/patterns? Is there some sort of default they go to when relaxed and mellow, and all the camouflage is a deviation from that? Can we know their “true” color or pattern?

    (Those are actual questions, not rhetorical or philosophical.)

  3. 3

    Is that completely safe what the young lady in the picture is doing? I mean wouldn’t the octopus be tempted to take a bite out of her hand?

    I do admire cephalopods but I don’t really see them as personable or friendly. Perhaps this is an error on my part.

  4. 4
    PZ Myers

    If the octopus were engaging in mimicry, it would be copying the texture/color of her hand, not five tiny little bits remote from where it was sitting.

    And yeah, many of these cephalopods will have a kind of ‘resting’ or default pattern.

  5. 5

    Olav @ 3, octopuses are intelligent, curious, and friendly. I’ve had the privilege of interacting with many of them over the years, kept in large aquaria by friends.

  6. 6

    Thank you Caine. I already knew they are intelligent and curious, just never thought of them as especially friendly. Perhaps I should get to know them better.

  7. 7

    They’re like aquatic rats.

  8. 8


    They’re like aquatic rats.

    That’s a great descriptor! Of course, I’m biased, what with being owned by the plague of rats and all.

  9. 9

    The octopus is beautiful and I noticed her nails right away. So cool!


  10. 10

    I’d have to suspect that the similarity between her nails and the octopus is a product of Photoshop.

  11. 11
    chigau (違う)

    I think her bikini looks alot like the octopus, too.

  12. 12
    congenital cynic

    @10 No photoshop. It’s a jpeg, and they are in 8×8 blocks of bicubically interpolated colour. There is nothing in that blown up image to suggest that anyone has tampered with it. Having doctored a good number of them at the pixel level myself, and knowing what the algorithms do at block boundaries, I know how to spot the characteristics in an altered image. Her nails are not faked. It would take hours to fake an image like this, and who would have the motivation.

    Her bikini is more blue, and spots more widely spaced. Don’t think it’s that. Pretty little octopus though, no matter what the case.

  13. 13

    Um there was an octopus in the picture? I didn’t notice

    (j/k of course don’t hit me.)

  14. 14
    twas brillig (stevem)

    octopodes? instead of octopuses?

  15. 15
    chigau (違う)

    I think we both need to remember to use snark tags.

  16. 16

    I was snorkeling around a coral head a few years ago when I saw this eye looking at me. I realized that the center part of the coral head was actually a large octopus that was curled up mimicking the coral around it. It was both creepy and exciting.

  17. 17

    octopodes? instead of octopuses?

    Depends: are you speaking Greek or English?

  18. 18

    eh, the fingernails are leopardc-spots, not octopus-mottles.
    And it’s clearly trying to steal her rings.

  19. 19

    like, you know, the spotted leopardc.

  20. 20
    chigau (違う)


  21. 21


    And it’s clearly trying to steal her rings.

    That would make them even more like rats.

  22. 22
    twas brillig (stevem)

    re @17:

    Depends: are you speaking Greek or English[re @14]?

    Isn’t “octopus” Greek? English is just a linguistic-anthology of all the languages surrounding it. Every word used in “English” was stolen from some other “actual” language. Shouldn’t each word be pluralized as it would in its original language and not “anglicized”? [IANAL] {L=”linguist”, not “lawyer”}

    I’m just rattling around, getting nostalgic about an old MIT prof. of mine, Jerry Lettvin. He was a big octopus fan and published essays about the correct way to pluralize “octopus”; arguing strongly for “octopodes” and declaring “octopi” as totally wrong (and listing all the errors about it).

  23. 23

    Shouldn’t each word be pluralized as it would in its original language and not “anglicized”?

    I’m not a linguist either, but you can find innumerable iterations of this (and similar) arguments via g**gle and the general consensus seems to be ‘no’, or at least ‘not necessarily’. Descriptive linguists (and there don’t seem to be any other kind any more) say that once a word becomes part of English, it’s free to evolve in English. So they’re fine with using ‘agenda’ and even ‘data’ as if they were singular, and they’re fine with ‘brothers’ instead of ‘brethren’ despite ‘children’ instead of ‘childs’. “Viruses’ kicks the ass of ‘viri’ in a g**gle-fight, and ‘octopuses’ beats ‘octopodes’ by a mile (to mix metaphors).

    [What I've never liked about 'octopodes' is that is seems to pluralized just the 'foot' part, whereas 'octopuses' seems to pluralize the whole portmanteau. Others--some who know Greek--have disagreed with me on this in the past, but to me it's the difference between 'look, five eight-feet' and 'look, five eight-footed animals'.]

  24. 24
    twas brillig (stevem)

    re ChasCPeterson @23:

    You caught me! I know all that, just playing around with my fascination with “-podes” vs “-puses”. I guess I was just “trolling” after all. Sorry, didn’t mean to “troll”; just having fun with my deficient linguistics. <shame>

  25. 25
    Markita Lynda—threadrupt

    I thought that the woman holding the octopus might have painted her nails to coordinate, before going for a swim.

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