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Deepest octopus nursery discovered, holds dark secret



20th April 2018 – Underwater images from the waters off Costa Rica have discovered something unusual for marine biologists – hundreds of octopus mothers hatching their eggs. The place, 1.2 miles below the surface, is much deeper than expected to find an octopus nursery. They usually seek colder water to sit with their eggs, but this ledge is crossed with hot thermal vents. The large gathering is also unusual – these octopuses are usually solitary and occasionally cannibalistic. None of the eggs were developed, and it was observed that the squid were heavily loaded. Scientists believe crevices provide an attractive habitat for cephalopods.

Nothing about the hundreds of octopus mothers on the video feed from the dive boat Alvin looked right.

"This octopus should not be there," Janet Voight, a marine biologist at the Field Museum in Chicago, said when she saw the footage

The research vessel explored a promontory about 1

.2 miles deep and 150 miles off Costa Ricas Pacific Coast – Far Lower than any Other Known Octopus (19659003) "It was breathtaking," says Anne Hartwell, a research associate at the University of Akron in Ohio, who conducted a new study on the 2014 footage of the Octomome's Valuable Eggs. (See our most beautiful octopus pictures.)

With the help of Voigt, Hartwell identified the numerous cephalopods as part of the genus Muusoctopus and possibly even a new species in science. These octopuses are solitary and occasionally cannibalistic.

But first she had to find out why they were there – and why so many of them had gathered on such a small area.

Rocky Real Estate

Probably because the Dorado outcrop is valuable property, as Hartwell discovered

Octopuses 101

How many hearts does an octopus have? How do camouflage species like the mimic octopus? Find out about these and other squid facts.

Most of the seabed is covered with soft mud known as sea snow, a collection of organic debris that drifts to the bottom. Octopi can not brood under these conditions.

Although much of the ocean's water around the outcrop is colder than normal, hot hydrothermal vents criss-cross the region – and it's these warmer spots that attracted the octopus. (Read about another deep-sea creature laying its eggs on hydrothermal wells.)

"There were so many of them that I thought they were all very happy first," says Hartwell.

Like Hartwell and Voight, they examined the Alvin recordings, but noticed something strange. None of the eggs developed, and all mothers showed signs of severe stress.

Long-time mothers

According to the octopus expert Jennifer Mather, who was not involved in the study, the water in the cracks is probably too hot for the deep-sea invertebrates.

But with so few places to lay their eggs, the mothers have little choice but to endure the oppressive conditions, Hartwell and colleagues conclude in their study recently published in the journal ] Deep Sea Research Part I .

"This study reminds us that the deep sea is not a unified environment, there are many different microhabitats that can exploit life," says Mather of Albertas University of Lethbridge

It's not that surprising Considering sacrifices is nothing new to Kraken. (Read about wild pet mothers who go to extremes for their babies.) In 2011, researchers began to observe Graneledone boreopacifica female in front of central California, their eggs amazing for 4.5 years guarded. This is the longest known developmental period for each animal.


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