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What species is this billowing deep-sea octopus?

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In 2019, the Nautilus Live team happened upon an estimated 1.3 m (4.2 ft) long octopus at a depth of around 1,600 meters (5,250 feet). The animal billowed like a circus tent during its five-and-a-half-minute encounter with the E/V Nautilus ROV.

“Experts believe the octopus belongs to Cirroteuthidae, a family of cirrate octopuses, but the exact species is unknown.

“Of the recognized species, it is closest to Cirrothauma magna. However, we know of several undescribed species and this could be one,” said invertebrate zoologist Mike Vecchione.”

Cirroteuthidae octopus
Those “big ears” are fins on its mantle, the organ and muscle-filled area right behind the animal’s head.

“Little is known about Cirroteuthid octopuses other than that they often swim or drift near the seabed at depths of over 2,000 m (6,600 ft) where light does not penetrate the cold waters. Because of their hard-to-reach habitat, catching a glimpse of these cephalopods is made possible through specialized technologies like those employed aboard the E/V Nautilus.

“The team spotted the delicate octopus while exploring Southwest Baker Island in the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, which makes up one of the largest marine conservation areas in the world. Just north of the equator, Baker Island is an uninhabited atoll surrounded by a rich diversity of marine life. “

cirroteuthidae octopus
Follow E/V Nautilus team on YouTube and Instagram.

Watch more octopus videos on TKSST, including:
• Octopus Camouflage with Science Friday
A blanket octopus unfurls its webbing
Is this octopus dreaming?
• An octopus unscrews a jar from the inside

h/t, Michael Broadstock.

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