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Living as it does on coral reefs, and hunting by day, O. cyanea is adept at camouflage and not only can change colour frequently, but also can change the patterns on and texture of its skin. One researcher observed it change its appearance 1000 times in seven hours. As it moves across the seabed it makes changes in its colouring and appearance to match the substrate beneath. The colour changes are instantaneous and made by chromatophores under direct control of the brain. This octopus sometimes produces a "passing clouds" display when stationary near prey such as a crab this mimics a dark shadow passing across its surface and may encourage the crab to move incautiously. It is a predator and searches the reef for fish, crabs, shrimp, and molluscs. Small items may be eaten where they are caught, while larger items are carried back to the den for consumption. Crabs may be killed by a bite and given an injection of toxic saliva, then chewed up in the beak of the octopus, while molluscs may have their shells drilled and the animal inside being predigested to ease extraction. Empty mollusc shells and crab carapaces are discarded outside the den, forming a midden.
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