Dumbo Octopus Sighting: What the Heck Is a Dumbo Octopus?

by Owen James Burke

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Cirrate, finned, or “dumbo” octopods are so characterized due to the fins on the sides of their bodies that resemble the oversized ears on the Disney cartoon character. They usually don’t get too big, but this one dancing around the E/V Nautilus’ ROV in the Windward Passage between Haiti and Cuba is absolutely gigantic.

There are two groups of dumbo octopods, which can be divided by which part of the water column each tends to occupy. Both groups predominantly feed on small crustaceans, but one usually stays near the bottom, occasionally coming up for a swim, while the other, the subject of the film above, is more commonly observed swimming freely. The reason for its positioning in the middle of the water column has scientists a little baffled, but they believe it is where the animal does its hunting.

Learn more at Nautilus Live — OB

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