Wunderpus Octopus Quest! | JONATHAN BIRD’S BLUE WORLD


Coming up, Jonathan travels to the Philippines
to hunt for a rare octopus in a muck diving adventure! Welcome to Jonathan Bird’s Blue World! The ocean can be a very unforgiving place
to live. Every animal needs a strategy to survive—a
way to catch food and a way to keep from becoming food. Different habitats require different strategies. Some animals live in the open ocean. Some live around coral reefs. But one of the most fascinating habitats for
cool critters is the sandy sea floor. It seems like there should be nothing here,
but in fact there are lots of really interesting animals that have adapted to this unique environment. Diving in these sandy, featureless domains
has come to be known as muck diving—even though there usually isn’t any actual muck. I’m heading to the Philippines–known for
muck diving. One of the most popular mucky destinations
is Dumaguete. The muck of Dumaguete is also known to be
one of the best places to find one of the rarest and most exotic octopuses in the world—the
Wonderpus. Yes, it’s really called a Wonderpus. I arrive at Atlantis Resort Dumaguete–situated
right on the beach–with 5 days to find a Wonderpus. The “muck” that we’re diving in here
in Dumaguete is actually just sand. This sandy beach continues out into the shallows,
and that forms the sea floor where all the critters live. But this sand isn’t ordinary sand. It’s what they call black sand. You can see it’s pretty dark in color. It’s not really black, it’s really kind
of more brown color, and it’s speckled with little shiny minerals. This is volcanic sand. It comes from volcanic rock, so it looks a
lot different from those white sandy beaches in the Bahamas with the sugary-white sand. Still, this is the ultimate muck-diving substrate. My first stop is at the dive shop, to get
my gear set up. I’m not sure they have enough tanks to keep
me going, but this ought to work for today. Next, I board the boat for some muck diving
adventures. We only drive about 5 minutes from the dock. John Ellerbrock, the guy who builds my awesome
Gates housings is on the trip too, testing out some new prototypes. Then it’s time to suit up and go look for
critters. Cameraman Zach and I hit the water, grab our
cameras and sink down only 25 feet to the bottom. It sure doesn’t look like much. I find a crinoid, sometimes called a feather
star. This echinoderm is closely related to the
sea star, but instead of a small number of fat arms, this guy has dozens of thin arms
covered in sticky projections to capture tiny organisms from the water to eat. Because the spiny, sticky crinoid is inedible
to most organisms, a small fish–perfectly camouflaged to match its host–lives within
the safety of the crinoid’s arms. Because most of the muck creatures are pretty
small, my camera is set up with a special lens for doing close-ups. Each nudibranch (basically a colorful snail
without a shell) is only an inch long. As I move in a tad shallower, I come across
an area of sea grass. It’s easy to look at this and swim right
over without a second glace. But when you are muck diving you have to slow
down and really look. Camouflaged perfectly, a pair of Robust Ghost
pipefish look just like the sea grass they are hiding in. They even sway like grass. Nature doesn’t produce camouflage much better
than this! A few meters away, I notice my friend Howard
Hall filming a clump of halimeda algae. He must have something good. Halimeda is a type of algae made of rigid,
calcified segments that look like leaves. This calcium makes the algae almost inedible
to herbivores. So pretty much nothing eats it. The Halimeda ghost pipefish gains protection
by looking like this inedible algae. When it wanders away from its halimeda home,
this tiny ghost pipefish stands out like a sore thumb…but predators still think its
just a piece of algae as it wiggles and flops its way to its next hiding spot as a piece
of drifting algae would. Another halimeda, another fish. Sea horses don’t like to swim much. They prefer to hang on to things with their
prehensile tail. In this case, the halimeda provides a place
to hang out, and wait for shrimp to come within striking range. By holding still, the sea horse allows the
food to come to it. Speaking of shrimp, there are clouds of them. They’re barely larger than a grain of rice,
but they feed many of the camouflaged hunters of the muck. Living in a burrow in the sand, a jawfish
rarely needs to leave his home. He watches for passing shrimp, and jumps out
to grab them when they come close. Few fish have perfected camouflage to the
degree of the flounder. While the flounder is actually lying on its
side, in a bizarre twist of evolution, both eyes are on one side of its body, so it can
look around for food with both eyes from this position. The eyes are completely independent from each
other like periscopes operated by two different people! On a small coral outcropping, a frogfish actually
hunts for dinner by going fishing with a lure attached to its head. Frogfish, which resemble sponges for camouflage,
are quite common around Dumaguete. Anemones also manage to find a foothold out
in the sand, usually attached to a rock. And where there is an anemone, there are anemonefish,
taking advantage of a safe place to live. The anemone may look like a lush carpet, but
every tentacle is covered in microscopic stinging cells. It will sting and eat soft-bodied animals
like fish. But not the anemonefish, which have a special
slime on their skin which fools the anemone into not stinging them. The toxin of the anemone is so effective that
it wards off moray eels, known as voracious predators. Frolicking only a foot from danger, the anemonefish
seems unconcerned. Another anemone looks more like a bath mat. And it attracts a different species of anemonefish
called the Saddleback. This mated pair is engaged in raising some
children. The female has laid hundreds of eggs, attached
to some rocks at the base of the anemone. Then the male takes over, aerating the eggs
every few seconds for 1-2 weeks. In the anemonefish world, dads are the primary
caregivers. Each egg is the size of a grain of rice, and
at this late stage of development, the embryonic fish have beady little eyes visible through
the egg cases. I wonder if they can see their dad working
so hard to bring them into the world? The anemone has another inhabitant. A porcelain crab also gets protection from
the anemone. It never needs to leave the anemone for food. Instead the crab just hangs off the edge and
catches plankton from the water with a pair of appendages that look like baseball mitts. While kneeling on the sand to film a pipefish,
I have that feeling that I’m being watched. Wouldn’t you know it, only a few feet away,
a Wonderpus has poked its eyes out of a hole to see what I’m up to. It slowly emerges from its den in the sand. It’s the weirdest, most incredible octopus! And unlike other octopods which typically
make their den under a rock or in a reef, the Wonderpus only lives in the muck environment
where it hunts, burrowing straight into the sea floor. The wonderpus tolerates my camera and lights
as it slowly works its way across the sand looking for something to eat. Within seconds it changes from a brownish
color to brightly striped. This distinctive coloration is the easiest
way to identify a Wonderpus. And biologists have discovered that no two
wonderpuses have the exact same spot pattern on their body and head, so individuals can
be identified in this way. I watch as the octopus hunts for a few minutes,
then it decides to burrow into a new spot. It can drill its way into the soft sand in
very little time. It uses an arm to pull some loose substrate
in closer to camouflage the position of the den. And then, the octopus vanishes. Soon, it’s time to head back to the boat. That was awesome! Mission accomplished! We found the Wonderpus! Yes! It didn’t do much, but it was still amazing
to see. Just one of the rarest octopuses in the world. Really cool. So my trip to Dumaguete is a huge success. The more muck diving I do, the more I enjoy
it. I’m a critter nerd…I love to find the
wild and weird animals that thrive in this sandy habitat. It’s another thing I love about exploring the blue world!

91 thoughts on “Wunderpus Octopus Quest! | JONATHAN BIRD’S BLUE WORLD

  1. Jon i am from the Philippines and i am very surprised and awed by this WOW it gives me a challenge to dive more and macro, very nice thank you

  2. Jonathan been to dauin 3 to 4 times a year. Guess what…I've seen the wonderpus and a whole lot more..in just one dive!

  3. It’s more fun in the Philippines Jonathan????great love your video. It’s really beautiful❤️❤️❤️

  4. If you'll mention 'Philippines' in your title— you'll definitely get more views. I greatly suggest you edit the title of your contents shot in the Philippines. Please.

    I did not know there is something like this in the PH ??

  5. hey Jonathan, its was niceeeeeeeeeee clip, i really enjoyed alot, new things i saw is like WOW 🙂 i never seen these things be4 🙂 Thanks for that, Love From Pakistan 🙂 …

  6. Amazing videos we've seen thru you thank u soooo much Jonathan blue world frm Philippines w/ love, GOD BLESS U!!!!

  7. Wow in dumagete i leave in Philippines southern leyte maasin city in visayas

  8. did you poo yourself after saying this is VoLCaNIc sAnd coMES FROM VOLCAAAANIC ROOOOCK!!! AAAAAAGRRRRGHHH!!!!

  9. எத்தனைக் கோடி இன்பம் வைத்தாய் எங்கள் இறைவா

  10. THANKS FOR VISITING DUMAGUETE..OUR COUNTRY HAS HUGE RESOURCES OVER AND UNDER SEAS.. SADLY OUR GOVT CANT PROTECT OUR SHORE FROM INTRUDERS SUCH AS CHINA ?

  11. I come to this channel because my 1yr old son loves to watch animal planet and he is too serious while watching

  12. Anybody get the feeling Casey Casem is Narrating this Documentary??)D ?
    Love it, tho i keep waiying to hear a Brittish/English voice. ✌️?✌️??

  13. Maraming taefish sa Philippines bosshiit Lang mga Tao saan saan nalang pinakawalan mga taefish nila?

  14. Thank you BlueWorld TV for your excellent high quality videos. The resolution is fantastic, picking up every little detail, and the sea life shown is very interesting.

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