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.