It's a snake! No, a fish. An octopus?

9:38am, August 29, 2001

Whether the so-called mimic octopus could impersonate Madonna or President Bush remains unclear, but researchers say the long-armed wonder does a great sea snake and lionfish.

The octopus, too recent a discovery to have a scientific name, prowls the silty stretches where rivers spill into the sea in Indonesia, explains Mark D. Norman of Museum Victoria in Melbourne, Australia. Even with few hiding places, the octopus forages in daylight. Such boldness may come from its ability to change posture, color, and motion in impersonations of venomous animals, say Norman and his colleagues in the first scientific report of the behavior.

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