Down in the depth of the ocean, you could be in for a big scary surprise or you could take a leaf out of the book of the researchers at the Nautilus Live Ocean Exploration Trust as they share the joy they experienced when witnessing a dumbo octopus in front of their remotely operated vehicles.
In the waters around Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument (PMNM) in the north Pacific Ocean, the Corps of Exploration team spotted the funky cephalopod swimming around 2,665 meters (8743 feet) deep above their ROV Little Hercules.
At around 24 seconds into the video, the collective “wows” of the group can be heard as the octopus bobs around in view of the camera. Named after the Disney elephant Dumbo with the big ears, skip to 1.20 for a full view of the octopus moving with its unique ear-like fins, or move to 3.35 to see the octopus against a black backdrop. Their arms are connected by a web of skin making them seem like little sea umbrellas in the water.
The team was gathering data on the area to better understand patterns of species distribution as well as the geology of the seamount. The PMNM is the largest marine protected area in the United States according to the Nautilus Live website. There are large unexplored areas of the site with the potential to find historic shipwrecks that could be carefully explored.
Earlier this year scientists were baffled by octagon shapes that they kept observing on the seafloor only to discover that the dumbo octopus feeding habits were creating the octagon mystery shapes with their funky octopus arms.
While this ghostly octopus was seen 2.5 kilometers (1.5 miles) deep in 2020 these enigmatic members of the genus Grimpoteuthis have been seen as far deep as 7 kilometers (4.3 miles) under the waves.
Regardless of what they’re up to or how deep they are swimming these ocean creatures never fail to delight.