19th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest Natural World
A large octopus displays a pose that might be either defensive or an attempt at camouflage.

I came across this large octopus while snorkeling just off the beach in front of our hotel in St. Croix, USVI. As I watched, it puffed itself up, spread out its tentacles in a circular fashion and shifted to a lighter color. I wasn't sure if this was a defensive move to try to scare me away, or whether it was just trying to appear to be part of the sandy and rocky bottom.

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 10.2020
Date Uploaded: 11.2021
Photo Location: Frederiksted, Virgin Islands (U.S.)
Camera: NIKON Z 6
Copyright: © Glenn Ostle