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Daily News Analysis

DUMBO OCTOPUS

3rd October, 2023 Environment

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Picture Courtesy: 1 Minute Animals

Context: The discovery of a rare "Dumbo" octopus during a deep-sea dive by US scientists. The encounter with the Dumbo octopus took place within the PapahńĀnaumokuńĀkea Marine National Monument, a protected area in the northwestern Hawaiian Islands known for its rich marine biodiversity.

Details

  • The Dumbo octopus, scientifically classified under the genus Grimpoteuthis spp., holds the title of being the deepest living among all octopus species.
  • The researchers were using remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) named "Little Hercules" and "Hercules" to explore the deep-sea environment. Their ongoing exploration of the area may lead to more extraordinary discoveries in the future.
  • This discovery highlights the importance of deep-sea exploration and the incredible diversity of life that exists in the ocean's depths, much of which remains undiscovered.

Location and Depth

‚óŹThe Dumbo octopus was found in the North Pacific Ocean at a depth of approximately 2,665 meters (8,743 feet).

‚óŹThe researchers were conducting their exploration at a depth of 5,500 feet in the North Pacific Ocean when they made this discovery.

‚óŹThey have been observed in various locations worldwide, including off the coasts of the Philippines, New Zealand, Australia, California, the Gulf of Mexico, Papua, New Guinea, and Norway.

Appearance

‚óŹThe Dumbo octopus is described as "ghostly" in appearance and is named after its distinctive ear-shaped fins that resemble the ears of Disney's Dumbo the Elephant.

Unique Propulsion

‚óŹThese octopuses are known for their unique method of propulsion, using their flappy ear-like fins to move and capture prey.

 

Habitat and Diet

 

‚óŹDumbo octopuses are among the deepest-dwelling octopus species, with habitat depths ranging from 3,300 feet to an astounding 13,100 feet below the ocean's surface. This makes encounters with them quite rare due to their extreme habitat.

‚óŹThey primarily feed on deep-sea creatures such as copepods, isopods, bristle worms, and amphipods.

‚óŹTheir diet primarily consists of snails, worms, and other creatures residing near the ocean floor, showcasing their adaptability to the extreme depths they call home.

Size Variation

‚óŹWhile the Dumbo octopuses are typically small, measuring under a foot in length, the one discovered by the Ocean Exploration Trust team measured approximately 2 feet in length.

‚óŹSome individuals of this species can grow up to 6 feet in length.

Protection status

‚óŹThe Dumbo octopus has no official protection status, but it is considered a species of concern by many conservation organizations.

‚óŹDumbo octopuses do not face threats from humans due to their distance from the surface. Right now, their conservation is listed as “Least Concern” by the IUCN Red List.

PRACTICE QUESTION

Q. What is the conservation status of the Dumbo octopus according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)?

A) Endangered

B) Near Threatened

C) Least Concern

D) Data Deficient

Answer: C

Explanation: The Dumbo octopus (Grimpoteuthis spp.) is currently listed as “Least Concern” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. The IUCN has not yet evaluated the Dumbo octopus for inclusion on their Red List of Threatened Species. This species does not face threats from humans due to their distance from the surface. However, it’s always important to note that conservation statuses can change over time and it’s crucial to continue efforts in preserving marine biodiversity.