Dumbo Octopus

Common Name:
Dumbo octopus
Scientific Name:
Grimpoteuthis spp.
Type:
Invertebrates
Size:
8 inches long
IUCN Red List Status:
Least concern
Current Population Trend:
Unknown

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 are masters at flying under the radar, changing their coloration and texture to match their surroundings in seconds. The above octopus seen in the Bonin Islands near Japan in 2008.
Octopuses are masters at flying under the radar, changing their coloration and texture to match their surroundings in seconds. The above octopus seen in the Bonin Islands near Japan in 2008.
Photograph by Brian J. Skerry

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