Rare ‘Dumbo’ octopus filmed on live stream in deep waters

Scientists exploring the deep waters northwest of the Hawaiian Islands captured a video of a rare “Dumbo octopus” during a deep-sea live stream.

This unique octopus earned its name due to its two large fins that resemble ears, reminiscent of the Disney character Dumbo. The video was released by Exploration Vessel Nautilus, showing the octopus drifting through deep waters at a depth of about one mile beneath the surface of the Pacific Ocean.

The sighting occurred while an exploration team was conducting a live-streamed dive to map the seafloor of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. The Dumbo octopus uses its ear-like fins for propulsion as it searches for snails and other invertebrates to eat. It can live at depths of up to 13,000 feet, where it has few natural predators and does not possess an ink sac. Predators at such depths include deep-diving animals like tunas, sharks, and dolphins.

Jaina Galves, the video engineer intern for Oceana, described the excitement of discovering the Dumbo octopus during the live stream, where it was observed moving slowly and gracefully through the water. The Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, covering more than 500,000 square miles, is a vast sanctuary larger than all U.S. national parks combined. The monthlong expedition, funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is coming to an end in two days.

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