A recent documentary from PBS includes a fascinating clip of an octopus changing colors while sleeping. The marine biologist involved in Octopus: Making Contact thinks that the sea creature was dreaming about hunting, which sparked the color shift to a camouflaged shade. Dr. David Scheel describes his theory in the documentary:
So here she’s asleep, she sees a crab and her color starts to change a little bit. Then she turns all dark. Octopuses will do that when they leave the bottom. This is a camouflage, like she’s just subdued a crab and now she’s going to sit there and eat it and she doesn’t want anyone to notice her. …This really is fascinating. But yeah, if she’s dreaming that’s the dream.
If you’re wondering how it was possible to document this occurrence, the octopus in question is being kept in captivity and closely studied by Dr. Scheel, an Alaska-based professor. Stay tuned for the full documentary, which premieres October 2, 2019, on PBS. (via the sleeping octopus’s enthusiastic cousin, Laughing Squid)