Rare ‘Dumbo’ octopus spotted near Hawaiian waters

Unlike most octopuses, the Dumbo octopus doesn’t have an ink sac because it rarely encounters predators in the deep sea.

A recent sighting of a Dumbo octopus has gone viral, showcasing the bizarre beauty of the deep sea.

Filmed by the Ocean Exploration Trust and NOAA, the video was taken while scientists explored the waters near the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument just northwest of Hawaii, according to USA TODAY.

The Dumbo octopus is named for its resemblance to an elephant, specifically the Disney character Dumbo with his oversized (even for an elephant) ears. According to Oceana.org, there are “at least 15 species” of this type of octopus in the world, and they are usually found in the deep sea, between 3,000 and 13,000 feet below the surface.

The largest Dumbo octopus recorded was nearly six feet long. On average, they grow between 8-12 inches in size. They use their large fins to maneuver through the water and their sharp beaks to prey on small crustaceans and other invertebrates.

“During our Ala ʻAumoana Kai Uli (NA154) expedition exploring the monument, we are gathering data urgently needed to address local management and science needs of PMNM, including a better understanding of the deep-sea natural and cultural resources, biogeographic patterns of species distributions, and seamount geologic history,” says the Ocean Exploration Trust.

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