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Wild Animals/Exotic Camouflage Fish


Hey Jonathan,

This is more a marine biology question, but as there's no section on experts specifically for that, I'm thinking outside the box.

First some context.

I'm a screenwriter, in the middle of adapting a spy novel. I'm currently working on a scene where our hero first encounters the main villain. At a fish supper of all places on the deck of a yacht in a harbor off on the coast of Saint-Tropez.

Now through the dialogue, I want the villain to analogize the type of fish they're eating with the plight of my hero.

To explain, The hero was framed for something years before and, through plastic surgery and fake I.D. papers, assumed a new life. Until the Villain managed to track them down and lure them out of hiding by kidnapping a family member.

My thought process is that this lends itself to the analogy of a fisherman luring a fish onto his hook. Not only that, but if this fish were able to camouflage in some way, that would be a perfect comparison to my hero's attempts to blend in with his new life.

So to the question-

1) Are there any fishes or edible sea creatures (exotic, endangered or otherwise) that use chameleon/camouflage techniques to avoid predators. Even better if they can be found in waters in and around Europe (though that isn't essential).

2) Are there any unique fishing methods used to catch these fish either now or in the distant past. It would be great if my main villain could talk of unusual methods when analogizing the unusual method he used to lure the hero out of hiding.

Hopefully I've explained that well enough. I'm basically looking for an edible fish or sea creature that is hard for us to catch due to the ability to camouflage, but that fisherman have unique methods to lure out of hiding and into a net/onto a hook.

Hope you can help :)



Dear Alex

Thank you for your unusual question. I also wish to thank the authors of the websites I used.

When I first read your question, I was glad that you gave me the option of choosing a non-fish marine creature. I think an ideal animal for your screenplay is an octopus, which can change colour, uses ink to escape predatorsa and can be trapped in an exotic way. It is also possibly the most intelligent invertebrate. Do you remember 'Paul the posychic octopus'? When I was a student, I wrote an article about learning behaviour in the ocopus and it is really amazing what an octopus can do. has some information that may help. shows a common octopus changing colour. has some additional information. has information about the ink used by the octopus and many other cephalopods.

The octopus is eaten in Provence (see shows how to catch an octopus. has some additional information that may help.

Please note that there may be better information elsewhere on the internet.

I hope this helps.

Good luck with your screenplay.

All the best


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Jonathan Wright


I can answer questions about wild mammals and other animals, as well as extinct animals and zoos. I am not an expert about every animal species. I can look up information from books and the internet, but can't verify if all the information is true. Please don't ask questions about: 1. Pets. I am not a vet. Please contact a vet if your pet is ill. You may need to spend some money if you want your pet to live. Don't get a pet if you don't know how to look after it and if you can't provide it with the space, food and possible companions that will help it live a healthy life. Don't take animals from the wild, unless they are ill and/or injured and you can protect them until a wildlife charity can help. It is cruel to take animals from their parents, especially if the parents will look for the babies, while putting their other babies at risk. You may be breaking the law by keeping wild animals or you may need a licence to look after some species. Please check with a local wildlife group. 2. Eggs: Please don't remove eggs from nests. The mother birds provide the right temperature for the eggs and won't sit on them if the temperature is warm enough for them to develop naturally. It is illegal to remove eggs of some species and, unless you have an incubator or a broody hen, the egg may not develop. If you are allowed to touch the eggs, you can candle them to see if they are fertile. If theys aren't fertile, they won't hatch. 3. Fights: Please don't ask about fights between different animals. These questions assume that individuals of two species fight each time they meet and that one species will always be victorious over another. This is untrue. There are cases where a live mouse has been fed to a venomous snake, bitten the snake leading to the snake's demise. 4: Diseases: Please ask doctors or other medical experts about diseases that you may catch from animals. I can't advise on how to deal with viruses, bacteria etc.


I have a zoology degree and have been interested in animals since I was two. I am a zoo volunteer at London Zoo. I have appeared on a BBC Radio Quiz, 'Wildbrain'.

WWF. ZSL. Natural History Museum. RSPB. London Bat Group.

Newsletters of London Zoo volunteers and the London Bat Group

BSC degree in Zoology. 'A' level in Zoology. 'O' Level in Biology.

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