Ocean amazes with deepest sighting of dumbo octopus

On World Oceans Day, we take a look at one of billions of reasons our oceans are so important
dumbo octopus A dumbo octopus—along with fish and a shrimp—are drawn to a lure placed by ocean researchers so they can observe marine life. (Atlantic Productions for Discovery Channel)

Happy World Oceans Day!

Today is a day to celebrate and recognize the importance of our oceans to the planet. We already got a head start on this last Friday when we posted about a terrific ocean-saving ideas contest, as well as an online talk today with an oceanographer that you can attend! To read more about that, click here.

Now, we'd like to discuss one of our most favourite parts of the ocean. Its depths!

Deep, dark... and cute!

dumbo octopus deep sea

To explore the deepest parts of the ocean, humans must travel in special submersible vehicles like this one. (Atlantic Productions for Discovery Channel)

Deep sea habitats are frigid, dark, and under immense pressure. (Imagine carrying a mountain's worth of water on your back!) And yet, there are creatures that actually live here. Not just live, but thrive.

Scientists are uncovering more and more animals in the deep ocean than ever. Some of them are odd. Some are kind of scary. But there are cute ones, too.

And in these dark waters, we're not sure that anything is cuter than the dumbo octopus!

The deepest ever found

This collection of images shows the two octopus. The A image is from 5,760 m deep—B to E show the octopus seen at 6,957 m. (Atlantic Productions for Discovery Channel)

In a study published May 26, researchers from the Five Deeps Expedition revealed that they had discovered the deepest ever sighting of a species of dumbo octopus. There were two sightings in the Indian Ocean: one at 5,760 metres (3.6 miles) deep, and an even further one at 6,957 meters (4.3 miles).

This species of octopus gets its name for the fins on its head that resemble the ears of the elephant in Disney's Dumbo. Scientists are learning more about this group of animals (called Grimpoteuthis) all the time. In fact, the two creatures that appeared on camera may also be a new species of dumbo octopus. They were about 35 and 43 cm (14 and 17 inches) long, which is pretty big for a dumbo octopus!

What else is down there?

This is the big question for ocean explorers. It is becoming more and more clear that there are all kinds of unknown species living in these places that light never touches. Are they all as cute as the dumbo octopus? Hmm. That's unlikely. But anything that can survive in a place so dark, cold, and crushing is worth knowing about!

Happy World Oceans Day, everyone. To keep the celebration alive, check out this OWLconnected General KnOWLedge video on how deep-sea animals survive!

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