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The incredible video captured of the seemingly friendly, little eight-legged ghost elicited squeals of delight and wonder from the team behind the camera on the E/V Nautilus, who immediately identified the animal as a rare dumbo octopus (Grimpoteuthis sp.).
"Oh, and the world loves a dumbo," one of the team members said Oct. 23 when the video was captured.
The enchanting creature calmly flapped its two large fins as it cruised slowly through the dark. After a few seconds, the octopus opened up its tentacles in an elegant display, revealing its umbrella of legs with eight rows of suckers.
"Yeah, he's a show-off," one team member said. "You're going to be famous," said another. Both were true statements, of course, because who can resist such a charming cephalopod?
The gentle dumbo octopus, also known as an umbrella octopus, is named for its ear-like fins that resemble the Disney character Dumbo's oversize elephant ears. There are 13 species of dumbo octopuses, and most of them live at depths of below 9,800 feet (3,000 meters). They're one of the rarest species of octopus, so catching a glimpse like this is pretty extraordinary.
The team used scaling lasers on the ROV to estimate that this particular deep-sea ghost was just under 2 feet (60 centimeters) long, which is a little larger than most dumbo octopuses.