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Sunday, February 1, 2009

Species: Grimpoteuthis or Dumbo Octopus

The octopuses of the genus Grimpoteuthis are also known as "Dumbo Octopuses" from the ear-like fins protruding from the top of their head-like bodies, resembling the ears of Walt Disney's flying elephant. They are benthic creatures, living at extreme depths: 3000-4000 meters, and are some of the rarest of the Octopoda species. They can flush the transparent layer of their skin at will, and are pelagic animals, as with all other cirrate octopuses, and unlike many other incirrate octopuses.

They hover above the sea floor, searching for worms, bivalves, pelagic copepods, and other crustaceans. They move by pulsing their arms, shooting water through their funnel, or by waving their ear-like fins. They can use each of these techniques separately or all simultaneously. The males and females are different in their size and sucker patterns. The females lay eggs consistently, with no distinct breeding season.

  • Dumbo Octopuses are found at considerable depths, typically living from 100-5,000m depth, although one was sighted at 7,000m, the deepest depth of any cephalopod.

  • There are about 37 species, currently assigned to four genera. Many are poorly understood.

  • Dumbo Octopuses can grow to 20cm.

  • They are found in every ocean.

  • This creature is typically benthic, living on or close to the bottom of the ocean floor, though some may be found some meters from the seabed where they drift, with arms outspread.

  • These deep-dwelling octopus swim by flapping their large ears and/or by expansion and contraction of their webbed arms. They are graceful swimmers and capable of rapid escape when threatened.

  • Bottom-dwelling species eat crustaceans, worms and bivalves. Those hovering above the bottom tend to eat pelagic copepods. They are unusual in that they mainly swallow prey whole.

  • The Dumbo Octopus swims by flapping its large ears and/or by expansion and contraction of its webbed arms. They are graceful swimmers and capable of rapid escape when threatened.


35ton said...

Can you give me info. on how much the dumbo octopus eats?

Liz Granite: Rock Diva said...

Very little is known about these dwellers of the deep. Let me do some research to see if that info is available, and I'll get back to you!

Jessamy said...

Okay, this is really silly, I know, but my son is currently obsessed with the kids' book "Rainbow Fish Discovers the Deep Sea." In it, a dumbo octopus spits a shower of bioluminescent glitter all over the main character. Is there any basis in reality for this? I haven't personally found anything about it, but if you're already doing research, maybe you'll see something about this.

Maybe it's a defense like squirting ink? Or, yes I know, maybe the author totally made it up to amuse toddlers. ;) That's probably it, but if you see anything, please post! Thank you very much.

Liz Granite: BREAKER said...

Jessamy - I love your curiosity! Turns out that there may be some fact behind the author's fiction. Dumbo Octopus has been reported to be bioluminescent, meaning that it emits light. I could not find photos to support this claim, and it hasn't been officially confirmed, although it is entirely possible! As far as squirting a bioluminescent glitter...not so much LOL

35ton - I did not find any information about how much the Dumbo Octopus eats, only what it eats. Unfortunately, very little is known about this fascinating species. Hopefully we'll get to know more about it in coming years!

spongebob said...

that one at the bottom is a glowing sucker octopus but they look really similar

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Anonymous said...

It's a very strange animal. Octopuses are simply odd animals because of their shapes... besides, I've heard some strange facts about them that has contributed to make me think they are such a weird species.
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Dean said...

Hey, does any know where I might be able to get some footage of Dumbo or even Vampyroteuthis swimming? There is a brilliant footage that David Attenborough narrates but that's quite a licence to is for a new 1 hour long professional dance work exploring marine habitat, species physiology and habit and conservation. Can anyone lead me in a direction? It would be projected during a break for me in the show. Dean

Anonymous said...

I read in a magazine of biology that the octopus have a chemical component in their stomach use to produce secure tabs, it is really interesting

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KateS said...

I also came searching for whether a Dumbo octopus might squirt anything resembling the glitter in the Rainbow Fish story. Thanks Jessamy for asking, and Liz for answering. Any updates since 2 years ago? Confirmations of bioluminescence?

Kirk McGuire said...
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Kirk McGuire said...
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yourworstnightmare:D said...

What is the genus and species of the Dumbo Octopus? I really, really need it for a school project I am doing, so I need it ASAP. I can not find the species name anywhere on the internet.

EverythingOctopus said...

Genus/Species of Dumbo Octopuses -

Next time shoot me an email for a fast response!

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