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What do you get if you cross an octopus with an elephant?
Well, in reality, probably nothing but a squashed octopus.
But with its elephant-like appearance, it's easy to see why this odd creature, found more than a mile beneath the ocean, has been nicknamed Dumbo by scientists.
Never before seen by man, it is a cirrate octopod, and the 'ears' that saw it named after Disney's cartoon elephant are actually fins that it uses to swim.
Marine biologists found the six-foot-long creature on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge in their quest to record and name every living thing in the seas.
The octopuses of the genus Grimpoteuthis are also known as "Dumbo octopuses" from the ear-like fins protruding from the top of their head-like bodies, resembling the ears of Walt Disney's flying elephant. They are benthic creatures, living at extreme depths: 3000-4000 meters, and are some of the rarest of the Octopoda species. They can flush the transparent layer of their skin at will, and are pelagic animals, as with all other cirrate octopuses.
They hover above the sea floor, searching for worms, bivalves, pelagic copepods, and other crustaceans. They move by pulsing their arms, shooting water through their funnel, or by waving their ear-like fins. They can use each of these techniques separately or all simultaneously. The males and females are different in their size and sucker patterns. The females lay eggs consistently, with no distinct breeding season.