David Shale, NPL, Minden Pictures
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Often called the cutest octopus in the world, the Dumbo octopus has fins on its mantle that look like the huge ears of Dumbo the Elephant.

David Shale, NPL, Minden Pictures
AnimalsReference

Dumbo Octopus


About the Dumbo Octopus

The dozen or so species that make up Grimpoteuthis are called Dumbo octopuses because of the two large fins—one on either side of the mantle—that protrude like ears.

Add in the octopus’s small size (generally around eight inches), relatively short arms, bell-shaped body, pale coloring, and tendency to hover over the seafloor, and you’ve got a cephalopod that’s often called the cutest octopus in the world.

Deepest known octopus

Dumbo octopuses live at extreme depths in oceans around the world—up to 13,000 feet below the surface—and are the deepest-living octopuses known. They feed on snails, worms, and other creatures they hoover up from the ocean floor.

They are “cirrate” octopuses, a group of deep-sea octopuses that have slender protrusions trailing from their suckers called cirri. The role of cirri is not known, but it’s thought to have something to do with feeding.

They propel themselves through the water by flapping their strong fins, not by expelling water forcefully from their siphons—a process called jet propulsion—as other octopuses do. Webbing between their arms aids them in swimming.


Octopuses 101 How many hearts does an octopus have? How do species like the mimic octopus camouflage themselves? Find out about these and other octopus facts.