This is an amazing animal and an amazing piece of footage. The good
folks at www.TONMO.com (your source for all things cehpy) have ID’d
the animal as one of the blanket octopuses, Tremoctopus violaceus.
Blanket octopus are rarely seen and usually keep the ‘blanket’ tucked
up within the arms, unfurling it presumably to distract/scare a
predator into not making the octopus its next meal. The most
interesting part of the footage occurs around 1:42 when the octopus
flashes colors and ‘drops’ one of its arms and part of the blanket in
a final move to escape predation.
From Deep Sea News:
“This video of a swimming Tremoctopus or â€œblanket octopusâ€ was shot in
the Gulf of Mexico in 180 feet of water at Eugene Island South
Addition Block 330 in October, 2008. The location is 100 miles from
the Flower Garden Banks, close to Sweet Bank, on the outer continental
shelf west of Mississippi Canyon. The video appears to be from an
industrial ROV performing inspections on an oil rig.
The footage is real, but the species is unknown. The genus is
characterized by extreme sexual dimorphism. Males are ~100 times
smaller than females. A similar animal washed up on the beach near
Miami, FL last Friday, apparently, and another in 1964, according to
NOAA Fisheries Biologist Heather Balchowsky.”