The Endearing Dumbo Octopus

Dumbo Octopus

The Endearing Dumbo Octopus

Vinisha Sharma, Journalist/Editor

The Dumbo octopus-the cutest living sea octopus was first uncovered in 2016, 7000 meters deep down in the Java Trench. The Dumbo Octopus who has the sobriquet of Emperor Dumbo was named after the Disney character Dumbo, the elephant who was famous for its large ears with which he could fly. Living 4000-8000 meters below sea levels, they do not require an ink sac for defense not having predators at this depth in the ocean. They are the deepest living sea octopuses living in New Zealand, Australia, California, the Philippines, and New Guinea. 

Having ears like Dumbo the Elephant, the dumbo octopus swims slowly by flapping them and using its tentacles as steers. Just like all the other octopuses, they too have 3 hearts and 9 brains (1 in the head and 1 in each of its tentacles combined-9). Unlike usual invertebrates, a Dumbo Octopus dreams when it sleeps and learns like human beings. Being naturally golden, the dumbo octopus can successfully reproduce anytime they find a mate. 

Octopuses have blue blood as they have adapted to cold and low oxygen water with the help of hemocyanin; a copper-rich protein. Coming seldom in human contact, their lifespan ranges from 3 to 5 years. Having some predators at that depth of the ocean, they use their chromatophore cells to change colors to escape them. Some colors to which they transform are red, white, pink, and brown for camouflage. At that depth, they eat worms, shellfish, and copepods. To catch their prey, dumbo octopuses pounce on them then consume them whole. The largest Dumbo octopus was 5 feet 10 inches long and weighed almost 3 kilograms, but most species are an average size of 7.9 to 12 inches long.

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