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Deep-sea explorers discovered creatures eating dead whales



Following is a transcript of the video.

"Wow, octopus."

"This is a whale fall!"

"Oh, whale fall!"

"Here we go, baby!"

"Yes!"

Narrator: This is a dead whale, which scientists recently discovered at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean covered in all kinds of creatures from bone-eating worms to deep-sea octopuses.

"Oh my God, there are so many."

"I count 15 octopuses!"

Narrator: The bottom of the ocean is a desolate place. Normally, the marine snow: tiny specks of organic matter falling from the surface. And that's why there are not many critters crawling or swimming at the bottom. But once in a while, the stuff is falling from above a lot bigger ̵

1; whale-sized, if you will. Whales, of course, are enormous – weighing up to 180 metric tons. … for years .

"Just think of the amount of calories in a whale here

Narrator: That's one of the 31 scientists aboard the Exploration Vessel (E / V) Nautilus. A ship that explores the seafloor. In the fall of 2019, the crew came across this baleen whale more than 3,000 meters down. And by the time they arrived, it was overrun with octopuses. More specifically, Muusoctopus robustus: a little-known purplish species that inhabits the deep sea. One even photobombed the camera! What's strange are those octopuses are predators – which are why they think they were feasting on other critters on top of the whale carcass. Search as crustaceans or snails. They likely use the suckers on their tentacles to pick their prey and then carefully transfer them from sucker to sucker into their mouths. It's like a feeding conveyor belt. But if those octopuses look eerie to you, wait until you learn about the bone-eating worms called Osedax. There are so many of them here that looks like the whale skeleton is coated in algae! These worms have no mouths and no guts. Instead, they have got rootlets that burrow into it.

"So these are worms that have symbiotic associations with bacteria the bone and then the bacteria are able to metabolize the fats and oils that are in the bone themselves. "

Narrator: In other words, they basically outsource digestion! You'll notice some eel-like creatures swimming around. As it turns out, they are probably long-bodied fish known as eelpouts, which have a taste for decaying whale blubber.

Chad King [Research Specialist at Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary]: We saw one or two in particular

Narrator: The researchers also saw other kinds of worms, crabs, and a clumsy lobster, which they joked may

Chad King: He was a little lethargic and

Narrator: In fact, a lot of

"Oh, my God, all of them!"

"So, you just had a big meal … it's like post-Thanksgiving, right?"

Narrator: With so many animals feeding on the carcass, it can degrade in less than a decade and is considered as staggering on one only months after it died really lucky .

Chad King: Whales are very rare, relatively, and the chance encounter like this is really important for science.

Narrator: For example, it wants to help researchers better understand these elusive, deep-sea animals like those bone-eating worms, which is one reason why they were so excited .

"Wow, this is incredible."

"The dinner bell ringing, right."

"We're so excited up here. Just saying."

"Ah, this is so cool is amazing. "


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