At first it seemed to be no more than a ghostly white shadow, slowly drifting thru the inky black waters two miles below the ocean surface. Propelled by its softly rippling mantle, it slowly revealed itself to the lights and cameras of a remotely operated submersible. “The world loves a Dumbo,” exclaimed one of the excited scientists. “I love a good cephalopod,” said another. Resembling its Disney-animated namesake, the Dumbo octopus has a set of fins either side of its head, looking much like enormous ears.
This very rare sighting of the Dumbo octopus (Grimpoteuthis sp.) was a real treat for the scientists aboard the E/V Nautilus. “It’s very exciting to see one live,” said Chad King, chief scientist aboard the Nautilus.
Dumbo octopus come in a variety of colors, shapes and sizes, usually between 8 and 12 inches long. The largest however measured nearly 6 feet in length. Most species of Grimpoteuthis inhabit depths of at least 3,000 to 4,000 meters (9,800 to 13,000ft) and are found around the globe. See the entire article on Nat Geo.
Exploring the Pacific’s Depths
Meeting Dumbo was an unexpected bonus while exploring the Davidson Seamount. An inactive, undersea volcano 80 miles off the coast of Monterey, California. Within the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary the seamount has been characterized as an “undersea oasis.”
“This is a very special place,” King said. “We want to protect it for posterity and to ensure these coral and sponge species survive.”
Founded by Robert Ballard, a National Geographic Explorer and best known for discovering the wreck of the Titanic, the mission of the Nautilus is to explore the deep waters of the Pacific. The exploits of the Nautilus’ ROV are live-streamed on Twitter.
Be Amazed by the Dumbo Octopus
It turns out that the Dumbo Octopus is even more amazing than what the imagination of Walt Disney could have conjured.
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