Scientists from the Nautilus Expedition, which explores the depths of the ocean surrounding the United States, recently filmed a rare creature: a magnificent Dumbo octopus or Grimpoteuthis floating in the water.
Needless to say, the Nautilus crew has made many discoveries. After finding a strange purple sphere and a balloon jellyfish, the submarine recently launched a new expedition from San Francisco to explore the depths near Mount Davidson, a submarine mountain located near a volcanic rift.
Located 130 kilometers from the coast of California, the chain of currently inactive volcanoes is nicknamed "the oasis of the depths" and for good reason. It is the natural habitat of many invertebrates, sponges and deep-sea corals among which many are poorly-documented species. Some parts of the area have yet to be explored, and this is where the Nautilus focused its attention.
Several impressive discoveries
Under the sea, the submarine first filmed a literal octopus nursery, with over a hundred octopods gathered near a warm fault, hatching their young. A first in the region.
But one of the most surprising videos sent by the expedition, which should soon leave the area, is undoubtedly that of this white octopus sailing quietly in deep water. This is a Grimpoteuthis, a kind of cephalopod affectionately nicknamed Dumbo Octopus with reference to its appendages, which are reminiscent of the famous Walt Disney elephant's ears.
These creatures live in the deepest depths, in areas lower than 3,000 meters and are therefore one of the most rarely observed octopus species. Although this is not the first time that the Nautilus crew makes such an encounter.
Seemingly levitating around the submarine
Like all octopuses, the Grimpoteuthis are equipped with eight arms partially bound by a membrane and covered with suckers. They use their lateral fins to move, and the color of their skin can vary at will according to the environment in which they are.
The specimen observed by the submarine measures sixty centimeters and does not seem particularly disturbed by the presence of the vessel. It waved its fins calmly and gracefully to go forward and, a few minutes later, revealed the inside of its arms and suckers, as well as the mouth through which it feeds. It most certainly moved the members of the expedition.
Its diet consists of crustaceans and worms found at the bottom of the ocean. They stir the sand to bring out their food.