Scientists have taken unbelievable, rare shots of a dumbo cuttlefish floating off the coast of California
The animals named for their oversized, ear-like fins usually swim far too deep to see them well. Among the deepest known octopuses, they usually swim around the seabed at depths of 9,300 feet to 23,000 feet below the surface.
The Ocean Exploration Trust's Nautilus Expedition took pictures of the approximately 10,800ft deep kraken in Southeast Davidson Seamount, southwest of Monterey, California. The ship has a number of remote-controlled vehicles that can dive far below the surface. This image material was taken by the ROV Hercules.
This year's six-month expedition has already found a bizarre gulper eel that blows its jaw like a balloon, and some oceanic rocks that NASA believes could come from space. Much of the journey is filmed by cameras that you can see online at Nautiluslive.org.
Expedition researchers were enthusiastic about the strange, cute octopus. "Oh God, is that a dumbo?" You hear the question when the creature appears in the video. After a chorus of Coos, a crew member joked that unusual cephalopod was a reward for all the guinea pigs they had watched.
Marine Pigs, or Scotoplanes are a group of sea cucumbers that look a bit like large, gelatinous beetles. The Dumbo, on the other hand, is a genus of umbrella octopus, which, in this case at least, is quite endearing. Properly named Grimpoteuthis the group of eight-tentacle animals are known for their large, floating processes that look a bit like ears.
But, as the video above shows, there are far more Dumbo octopus than his "ears". The camera-friendly creature opens his skirt at .24 to reveal his incredible tentacles. Stay tuned to 0.44 for the best shot. "Bye, you're beautiful," one hears a crew member say as the video ends. [1
Most Dumbo octopuses are between 8 and 12 inches long, as reported by the Aquarium of the Pacific. Although this particular Dumbo looks graceful, the animals can be vicious. They pounce on their prey – certain crustaceans and bristle worms – and feast them whole, and suck up tasty, floating in the water bite.
This is the fourth annual voyage through the Eastern Pacific for the Trust, which finances the Nautilus in addition to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and others.
The ship has traveled through the waters of California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia and Hawaii. It will soon begin the final leg of this year's journey: a journey through the defunct coasts of the California Borderland area.
The Ocean Exploration Trust did not respond immediately to a request for comment.