Dumbo octopuses live in the deep open ocean down to depths of at least 13,100 feet (4000 m) and possibly much deeper, giving this group the tag of deepest living of all known octopuses. Life at these fantastic depths needs the ability to live in very cold water and in the total absence of sunlight. Dumbo octopuses are generally rare, and the deep sea is gigantic, so these species have specific behaviors to increase the likelihood that they can favorably reproduce anytime that they find a mate. Females seemingly always carry eggs in various stages of development, and they are able to store sperm for long periods of time after mating with a male. Using these resources, female dumbo octopuses can carry sperm to their most developed eggs any time the environmental circumstances are right for reproducing. Though they spend much of their lives hung above the seafloor, dumbo octopuses lay their eggs on the bottom, attached to rocks or other hard surfaces.
Here are 6 amazing facts about Dumbo Octopus
- The name “dumbo” arises from their similarity to the title character of Disney’s 1941 film Dumbo, having a prominent ear-like fin that extends from the mantle above each eye.
- Apart from their gigantic ears, dumbo octopuses are also recognized for having bell-shaped heads and big eyes. In fact, the diameter of their eyes is about one-third of the width of their head.
- Most dumbo octopuses are tiny, measuring less than a foot long. However, some species can go over five feet long and the biggest ever caught was 5.9 feet long.
- I wrote above that they live at least 13,100 feet deep. That’s very deep and very cold and scientists have not found out yet how dumbo octopuses have accustomed to the cold temperatures. They only know how dumbo octopuses adapt to such a high-pressure environment and that is by having soft, jelly-like bodies that quickly change shape and effortlessly float.
- Dumbo octopuses come in several colors, some white, some red, some brown, some even pink. Like most octopuses, they can also adjust the color or ‘flush’ the outermost layer of their skin to make it seem different, dramatically camouflaging them against the ocean floor.
- Another result of living in the depths of the ocean is that food is difficult to find so dumbo octopuses are no picky eaters. They eat copepods, isopods, amphipods, small crustaceans, and worms that creep across the ocean floor. How do they eat? Using their ear-like fins, they float along the ocean floor and when they find food, they jump on it, wrapping it with their umbrella-like arms.