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Dumbo Octopus Spotted!

Wow! Scientists filmed a dumbo octopus deep in the ocean.

An octopus with short fins and long tentacles swims through dark water.

Ocean Exploration Trust/NOAA (www.NautilusLive.org; Instagram: @NautilusLive; YouTube: EVNautilus)

This dumbo octopus made a rare on-camera appearance.

How cute is this? Scientists recently spotted a dumbo octopus in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Hawaii! It was a rare, and adorable, sight. 

Scientists on board a research ship sent a vehicle with a camera down into the ocean and waited to see what would swim by. They spotted the dumbo octopus at a depth of about 5,500 feet (1,700 meters), where the water is cold, dark, and not very crowded. 

There are about 300 species of octopus and about 17 species of dumbo octopus. Dumbo octopuses push themselves through the water with their fins, which look like floppy ears. They get their name from Dumbo, the classic Disney movie about an elephant with giant ears. Most dumbo octopuses are less than one foot (30 centimeters) long, which is smaller than many other octopus species. 

Scientists can’t study dumbo octopuses as much as they can study many other animals. Dumbo octopuses live in deeper water than other octopus species—as far as 13,000 feet (4,000 meters) below the surface. Not many animals can survive at this depth, which is so far down that sunlight can’t reach it. Humans can’t dive that deep, either. That’s why dumbo octopuses are a bit of a mystery. 

“I’m so glad we got to see this beautiful creature,” one scientist said. “I’ve never seen one before.”

Check out the video of the octopus!

Ocean Exploration Trust/NOAA (www.NautilusLive.org; Instagram: @NautilusLive; YouTube: EVNautilus)

Here’s what scientists said when they saw the dumbo octopus!

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Fun Fact

Helmut Corneli/Alamy

The female anglerfish has its own light.

The deep sea is totally dark. But many deep sea animals make their own light!

The female anglerfish has a lure, like a fishing rod, on top of its head. The lure produces light that attracts prey right into the fish’s toothy mouth.

Clever Builders

An illustrated octopus bobs up and down next to a house as it holds human construction tools in its tentacles.

© Volodymyr Gorban, Margaryta Kudashova, Dzmitry Baranau/Dreamstime.com, © zozulinskyi/stock.adobe.com; Animation Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

Octopuses are amazing, and not just because they have eight arms! In 2009, scientists wrote about octopuses they had filmed collecting coconut shells that were lying on the seafloor. The shells had been split in half already. 

The octopuses emptied the shells and carried them some distance. Then they put two halves together to make themselves places to hide!  

Scientists already knew that octopuses make hiding places out of shells and other objects. But they had never seen them cleaning objects, taking them someplace new, and putting them together. 

Pretty smart!

The Amazing Octopus

© Cavan Images—Cavan/Getty Images

Did you know that some octopuses hunt sharks? You can learn more about octopuses at Britannica!

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Word of the Day

limb

Part of speech:
noun
Definition:

: a leg or arm

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