There are many strange varieties of animals in the world that we are only getting to know about. People often say that the ocean is the great undiscovered part of our planet and based on the new species that continue to pop up there, these claims appear to make sense. One species we recently came across that is absolutely adorable is the Dumbo octopus.
The Dumbo octopus is not its scientific name but Grimpoteuthis is a little harder to get out of the keyboard and off the tongue. It has the name dumbo because it is reminiscent of the elephant with the large ears from the Disney classic movie. The Dumbo octopus is like any other octopus in many ways. It has four tentacles and a large head. Yet dumbo is part of the Opisthoteuthidae family. The Opisthoteuthidaes are different from other octopus as they have a strong webbing between their tentacles that looks like an umbrella.
These umbrella tentacles are incredibly useful underwater as they act as a rudder and allow the octopus to crawl along the ocean floor. In addition, the umbrella allows the octopus to contract and expand quickly and create propulsion. The main method of propulsion used is the octopus ear-like fins though. The large fins are what give it the Dumbo name and what allows it to fly through the ocean.
The dumbo octopus can be found in a variety of colors and sizes including red, brown, white, and pink. They can be over a meter in size but also small enough to fit in your hand. Some are so light that they are suspended in the ocean without doing anything to remain buoyant. The animals have some other traits that make them extraordinary.
As with many other species of octopus they have the ability to change color to camouflage when they feel in danger and can drain the color from their body to match the landscape behind them. The dumbo octopus has incredibly large eyes as well, however they are a little bit useless.
The eyes appear to lack a lens and have a degraded retina. This is likely how they evolved after years at the bottom of the ocean floor in the depths of darkness. Instead, the eye is likely used to spot movement in the water and changes in light and darkness. This allows the dumbo octopus to see if any predators appear and to react quickly. The large eyes mean that it can cover a large area. Although it can’t make out figures or see shapes well it can still see movement and get away in time.
The dumbo octopus is found in the very depths of the ocean floor and has been found as deep as 7,000 meters below sea level. This makes it the deepest living octopus of any known species, although who knows what still lies undiscovered. They have been spotted close to New Zealand, Australia, America, the Philippines, and New Guinea. While many people think of octopuses as creatures that will spray ink at you when scared, the dumbo can not do this. It lacks the necessary ink sacks.
The Dumbo Octopus is a fascinating creature that may deserve its own Disney film, and with its large eyes would fit in with little issue. While the ear-like fins make it stand out from other species it also has an umbrella-like structure and camouflage technique that make it a truly remarkable specimen. Scientists are continuing to learn more and more about the depths of the ocean and what mysteries it contains. The dumbo octopus is just one discovery, who knows what other treasures lie there.