This rare mollusk is known as Dumbo Octopus because of its great resemblance to the famous Disney cartoon elephant.
Its scientific name is Grimpoteuthis and it is formally a Cephalopod mollusk of the Octupod family.
It is not the only one of its genus, so far there are 18 species that make it up, these being the rarest in the world.
We can learn about this rare mollusk species thanks to an efficient group of explorers and researchers who managed to record for the first time in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary the extraordinary Octopus Dumbo at more than 3000 meters deep. This mollusk is so far the deepest living octopus ever discovered.
Physical characteristics of the Dumbo Octopus
Most octopuses have long tentacles that help them swim but the Dumbo Octopus differs from them by having rounded fins on the sides of its head that help it swim and keep its balance.
It has long tentacles that help it move by expelling water. This procedure is carried out by means of protuberances that they have in their body. This characteristic is what mainly distinguishes it from the rest of its family.
Not much is known about this rare animal since it lives between 2000 and 5000 meters deep and only a few specimens have been evaluated.
But what little research has been done is that it is very pale white due to the depth at which it lives. In this habitat no sunlight reaches it and it does not develop the pigment in its skin.
A very important peculiarity is that it can vary the transparent layer of its skin at will. Its skin colour can be varied in order to protect it from predators.
They can be white, brown, pink, red and the ears can be a different color than the body.
Also, it has a gelatinous and slippery body that helps it survive and withstand the environmental pressure around it.
In addition, it has 8 strongly trained tentacles with 60 to 70 suction cups each.
The Dumbo Octopus can be of various sizes, but the recently caught specimens weigh almost 13 kilograms and are approximately 2 meters long.
Of course this does not mean that all the specimens are exactly like this, we must take into account that this species varies in terms of size and weight.
An important characteristic is that they have large eyes, but their vision is limited in the darkness of the deep sea, probably only serving to detect light and darkness as well as movement. Their eyes can reach approximately one third of the diameter of their head.
Their life expectancy is about 3 to 5 years.
Habitat of this rare mollusk
This rare animal lives between 2000 and 5000 meters deep in waters around the world and does not seem to have a preference for one ocean or another.
For example, specimens have been recorded on the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of North America, in the Philippines, in the Azores, New Zealand, Australia, New Guinea.
What do Dumbo Octopus eat?
The dumbo octopus is totally carnivorous. The hunting task of this animal is to catch prey that is found on the bottom of the sea or that is found swimming confidently.
This prey can be sow worms, snails, bivalves, crustaceans and copepods.
With its tentacles it probes the sea floor and thus detects its possible food. The circle of tentacles serves to create a current of water that brings the food closer to the beak.
The other types of octopus break up the prey and peck at it before putting it in their mouths, but the dumbo octopus projects itself onto its prey, managing to devour it completely, which makes it so different from the others.
Reproduction of the Dumbo Octopus
The research that has been carried out established that there is no specific stage in which they are reproduced.
The females inside carry several eggs at different stages of maturation. She fertilizes one of them and deposits it. This happens when the environmental conditions are conducive to success.
Due to this environmental condition, when the hatchlings are born they are already fit and developed to fend for themselves.
It is not the same as the other octopuses in which the youngsters gradually develop and learn from their mother, because in the case of the Dumbo, they must ensure their survival from the beginning.
Does the Dumbo Octopus have Predators?
As with other octopuses, the main predators the dumbo has to face are usually sharks and killer whales. But they can also be some whales or birds of great size and strength.