Veined octopus (coconut octopus: Amphioctopus marginatus) flaring its arms revealing its suckers as it exits its den inside a discarded bottle. Lembeh Strait, North Sulawesi, Indonesia. Alex Mustard / NPL / mediadrumworld.com

By Ben Wheeler

BEAUTIFUL octopus photographs taken by a British photographer from the ocean floor show what a tangle this eight-legged creature can get itself in.

The images were captured by famed British underwater photographer, Alex Mustard (41), who has won various awards for his startling work.

Veined octopus (Amphioctopus marginatus) sheltering in an old clam shell, with plankton swirling around it at night (captured as trails in the long exposure). Bitung, North Sulawesi, Indonesia. Lembeh Strait, Molucca Sea. Alex Mustard / NPL / mediadrumworld.com

Many of the photos from Indonesia’s Molucca Sea show the eight-legged sea creatures sheltering in anything from old clam shells to discarded glass jars at the bottom of the sea.

Others can be seen swimming up from the ocean floor, whilst one snap reveals a couple fighting, with a female attacking a male to repel his unwanted advances.

Ocellate octopus (Amphioctopus mototi) swimming up from the sea floor. Bitung, North Sulawesi, Indonesia. Lembeh Strait, Molucca Sea. Alex Mustard / NPL / mediadrumworld.com

The Molucca Sea is a portion of the western Pacific Ocean and is rich in coral and other sea life due to the deepness of its waters.

It has a surface area of 77,000 square miles and goes as deep as 15,780-foot.

Veined octopus (Amphioctopus marginatus) in den in a discarded glass jar. Bitung, North Sulawesi, Indonesia. Lembeh Strait, Molucca Sea. Alex Mustard / NPL / mediadrumworld.com

Most of the images captured are of veined octopuses, which derives its name from the branching dark lines present over their bodies.

Veined octopuses are indigenous to the tropical waters of the Pacific and Indian oceans and typically prey upon shrimp, crabs and clams.

Veined octopus (Amphioctopus marginatus) resting on top of the two halves of an old clam shell on the sandy seabed. These octopus regularly carry pieces of shell so they can use them as protective armour if required. Bitung, North Sulawesi, Indonesia. Lembeh Strait, Molucca Sea. Alex Mustard / NPL / mediadrumworld.com

They are also considered to be extremely intelligent creatures, with biologists having observed them excavating coconut shells from the ocean floor to use as portable shelters, regarded as the first documented tool use by an invertebrate.

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