As reported in the science journal Marine Biology, Dr Alan Jamieson of Armatus Oceanic has identified the species to be belonging to the Grimpoteuthis family, suggesting it is likely to be a new species of ‘Dumbo Octopus’.
The observations were made from nearly 7,000 metres (3.6 to 4.3 miles deep) in the Indian Ocean during a recent exhibition, named ‘Five Deeps Exhibition’. It was the world’s first manned expedition to the deepest point in each of the five oceans.
These are new depth records for the species, exceeding the current deepest reliable record of the octopus, as well as the entire class of Cephalopods, by 1,812 metres (over 1 mile deep!).
Previously, it has been difficult to know the deepest depth octopuses have been known to live. Fragments and eggs have been at very deep levels, but until now, the deepest confirmed sighting by image was a single photograph at 5,145 metres deep in the Atlantic oceans, taken 50 years ago.
This new discovery, therefore, extends the depth and the octopus’ potentially available habitat from 75% to 99% of the global seafloor.
This is a fantastic discovery and one that could not have been done without all those involved in facilitating the research expedition. It just shows that there is so much of the ocean yet to discover.
The images of the deepest octopus were captured on the expedition using the Caladan Oceanic Landers, known as Closp and Skaff, that were designed by Triton Submarines and Dr. Jamieson.
Dr Jamieson said: “I think it’s great that after completing hundreds of camera-drops into the deepest places on the planet there are still these surprises. This represents a considerable depth extension to an important group of animals and proves that octopuses are alive and well at the great depths.”
He added: “Contrary to the scary creatures and monsters of the deep that the deep-seas are often wrongly stereotyped with, here’s a little dumbo octopus going about doing whatever dumbo octopuses do. The only difference is that it’s doing so nearly 7 kilometres deep.”
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