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Phylum Mollusca > Class Cephalopoda > Family Octopodidae
Reef octopus
awaiting identification*
Family Octopodidae
updated Oct 2016
Where seen? This active and colourful animal is the most commonly seen octopus near our reefs and coral rubble areas. It is frequently encountered on many of our Southern shores and it is a rare night visit where one is not seen in a suitable habitat. It is more active at night.

Features: Head about 5-8cm long, arms may be 15-30cm long. Arms tapering. Webbing extends to about half the arm's length. It can change colours and the texture of the skin.

Mimicking other sea creatures? Some octopuses on the Northern shores were seen with their arms arranged to form a flat profile as they moved over the sand. Were they mimicking a flatfish? Or is this just a convenient way to move when you have that many arms? There's a lot we have yet to learn about these amazing animals.

Raffles Lighthouse, May 04

Well camouflaged on seaweed.
Sisters Island, Jul 04

This octopus changed both its colour...
Sisters Island, Jul 04

... and texture!


Using jet propulsion to move.
Cyrene Reef, Oct 08

Using web as a net to trap prey.
Pulau Hantu, Aug 04

Web spreading out along the sides of the tentacle.
Labrador, May 06


A pair of mating octopuses,
one pale and the other dark.
Sentosa, Jul 05

The arms can stretch out to great length!
Sentosa, Jan 05


Tentacles arranged to form a flat profile.
Mimicking a flatfish?

Chek Jawa, Aug 05

Head formed into a cone shape.
Mimicking a snail?
Sentosa, May 04

Hidden among bumpy hard coral.
Sisters Island, May 07

*Species are difficult to positively identify without close examination.
On this website, they are grouped by external features for convenience of display.

Reef octopuses on Singapore shores

Photos of Reef octopuses for free download from wildsingapore flickr

Distribution in Singapore on this wildsingapore flickr map


Berlayar Creek, Apr 16
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on flickr.

Terumbu Buran, Nov 10
Photo shared by Russel Low on facebook.

Lazarus Island, Feb 11
Photo shared by Russel Low on facebook.


Terumbu Selegie, Jun 11

Photo shared by Neo Mei Lin on her blog.

Terumbu Bemban, Jul 11
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his blog.


Terumbu Pempang Darat, Jun 10
Photo shared by James Koh on his blog.

Beting Bemban Besar, May 11
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his blog.

Terumbu Pempang Laut, Apr 11
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his blog.


Pulau Pawai, Dec 09

Pulau Pawai, Dec 09

Pulau Sudong, Dec 09


Pulau Salu, Aug 10

Pulau Senang, Jun 10

Pulau Senang, Aug 10


Mating octopuses
Pulau Senang, Jun 10

Photo shared by Toh Chay Hoon on her flickr.

Pulau Biola, May 10

shared by Neo Mei Lin on her blog

Filmed on Pulau Hantu, 2008
see how it changes colours!

octopus surprise @ hantu from SgBeachBum on Vimeo.


Filmed on Terumbu Raya on 9 Feb 09

octopus @ terumbu raya 09Feb2009 from SgBeachBum on Vimeo.


Filmed on Pulau Hantu, Jan 11

octopus escape @ Pulau Hantu 22Jan2011 from SgBeachBum on Vimeo.

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