The Dumbo Octopus: Curious But Still Unknown

The dumbo octopus: curious but still unknown 

This mollusk lives between 2,000 and 5,000 meters deep, so not much is known about it. The truth is that he is very pale, since, because he lives so deep, he has no access to sunlight.

The dumbo octopus has a unique characteristic within its family : his way of moving distinguishes him from other octopuses.

Its habitat also makes it almost a complete mystery to humans. We invite you to discover more about this very special octopus.

Dumbo Octopus Characteristics

dumbo octopus

The great defining characteristic of the dumbo octopus is its physicality: like other octopuses, they have long tentacles and push themselves out of the water.

And pet ste has two fins on the sides of the head, to help you swim.  These two fins are rounded: their shape and the way they move are immediately reminiscent of Dumbo, the Disney elephant who flew thanks to his ears.

In fact, the dumbo octopus is not a unique species, but it is a genus formed by 13 different species, which we know so far.

All have tentacles and fins on their heads. Also, they swallow their prey whole, rather than chopping them into small pieces before putting them in their mouths, as other cephalopods do.

The dumbo octopus lives deep in the ocean and, being in an inaccessible place, we know very little about them.

It is not known what the average size of the species is, and it was only recently possible to observe how their offspring are. It is also not known exactly how they reproduce.

Generally, it has been observed that they are white or very pale in hue. : the lack of light in their habitat does not allow pigments to develop in the skin.

dumbo octopus

They have a gelatinous body, which helps to withstand the great environmental pressure they are subjected to throughout their lives.

Despite this, the size or average weight of the species is not known. The largest recorded specimen weighed almost 13 kilos and was nearly two meters long , but the rest of the observed octopuses were much smaller.

It is estimated that the average, in size, is 30 centimeters; it is not known what the weight of animals of that size would be.

dumbo octopus behavior

If we know little about their characteristics, their behavior is even less known.

About this, the only thing that is known is that they live at great depths and, in order to swim, they propel themselves with the two fins they have on their heads.

We also know that their diet is made up of crustaceans, bivalves and worms. As they propel themselves and maintain their balance with their fins, with the tentacles they touch the sea floor, rocks or coral to find their prey. They get on top of them and eat them whole.

dumbo octopus

However, it seems that there is no period for reproduction: females carry several eggs in different stages of maturation inside her.

When environmental conditions are favorable, it fertilizes one of the eggs and deposits it somewhere. The born puppies are already fully developed and can survive on their own.  

dumbo octopus habitat

The dumbo octopus is the species of octopus that lives in greater depth: they are located between 2,000 and 5,000 meters deep. In this region of the ocean, sunlight does not penetrate and there is great atmospheric pressure.

They are believed to live all over the planet: they have been found on the coasts of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, North America, the Philippines, the Azores islands, New Zealand, Australia, New Guinea. They don’t seem to have a preference for one ocean or the other.

Dumbo octopus conservation

Thanks to the fact that they live in oceanic depths, human beings will hardly be able to threaten their survival.

The major threats to this species are climate change and rising ocean temperatures , as well as water pollution: pieces of garbage or other types of waste that could descend into their habitat.

For their survival, the health of the octocorals, where the females lay their eggs, seems to be essential.

Without these corals, the dumbo octopus could not reproduce and the chicks could not hunt their first prey to survive and grow.

Despite this, they have some predators to flee: orcas, sharks, other cephalopods larger and even tuna can hunt them.

Of all the octopus species, the dumbo is the deepest-living genus. This allows it to survive and develop without human threats, but complicates the work of studying it and getting to know it better.

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