The Secret Life of a Dumbo Octopus


Jenna Skanberg, Staff Writer

Earth’s oceans are the home to about 95% of all living creatures. Despite being a huge part of the worldwide ecosystem, researchers only know a small amount about life under the sea. In fact, only 80% of the ocean has been explored by scientists. As the mysteries of the deep sea continue to be uncovered, people find new, interesting animals. The dumbo octopus is just one example of an aquatic animal which does not get the recognition it deserves. Dumbo octopuses are a genus of octopus with a few unique characteristics shared by a set of about 15 species

The dumbo octopus gets its name from the Disney elephant. This is because the dumbo octopus has two fins which, like elephant ears, sit on top of its head. A dumbo octopus uses these “ears” to swim forward, and it uses its webbed limbs to steer itself around the water.

Dumbo octopuses live between 9,800 and 13,100 feet under the water. At this depth, there is no light, and sources of food are scarce. Despite the harsh environment, the dumbo octopus is able to thrive. Interestingly, dumbo octopuses live deeper than any other genus of octopus.

In addition to their distinctive fins, the dumbo octopus has a variety of fascinating features. For example, the dumbo octopus, unlike most other octopuses, has no ink sac. This is likely due to the fact that, at depths below 9,800 feet, the octopus encounters very few predators. In addition, the dumbo octopus’ eyes do not have retinas or lenses. Because of this feature, the dumbo octopus is often given the nickname “blind octopus.” Once again, the octopus would have evolved with this feature due to its environment. Since the deep sea is completely dark, the dumbo octopus has no need to see. Lastly, the dumbo octopus’ mouth is very unique in comparison to other octopuses. This is because it’s mouth allows the octopus to swallow its prey whole. Other octopuses tend to tear their food apart before swallowing, but the dumbo octopus has no need for this extra step.

On average, most dumbo octopuses will only grow to about 8-12 inches. However, the largest dumbo octopus ever recorded was 5 feet 10 inches long. To put this into perspective, the smallest dumbo octopuses are about the size of a soccer ball, and the largest could be the size of a human adult.

Overall, the dumbo octopus genus is a rare, almost unknown part of the oceanic ecosystem. It is absolutely fascinating how they have adapted and evolved to survive in one of the coldest, darkest, and loneliest parts of the sea. These creatures are just one example of many mysterious wonders of the Earth. With plenty of time and research, scientists can hope to find out more about the beings that they share the planet with.